Tesfaye Urgessa | Artist Overview

Tesfaye Urgessa

b.1983, Ethiopian

Tesfaye Urgessa was born in 1983 and lives and works in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Urgessa studied under modern master Tadesse Mesfin in Ethiopia, and later graduated from the Staatlichen Akademie in Stuttgart. Through these experiences, Urgessa was able to connect Ethiopian iconography and a deep fascination with traditional figurative painting to create a unique and striking language. His classical figurations with their writhing bodies create distorted psychological tension hidden in domestic settings. Urgessa’s subject matter recalls intertwined representations of race and the politics of identity. Selected exhibitions include Oltre/Beyond at Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy (2018); The Stand-Ins: Figurative Painting from the Collection, Zabludowicz Collection, London, England (2021); The New African Portraiture, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems, Austria (2022); Tesfaye Urgessa, Rubell Museum Miami, Miami, United States of America (2022); Tense Conditions: A Presentation of Contemporary African Art, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany. Urgessa's work is held in the permanent collections of, Zabludowicz Collection, London, England; Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy; Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy; Kunstmuseum, Stuttgart, Germany; Rubell Museum, Miami, United States of America; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany; The Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Marrakech, Morocco. Tesfaye Urgessa has been chosen to represent Ethiopia at the 60th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia.