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Year2019ArtistNoh Balcha

The Ethiopian ( 1 )

This piece is an experiment of bringing to life the ancient Church drawing of Ethiopia which is known to have renounced the illusion of volume, depth, and perspective. I felt like things have to change. My people should see what those ancient drawings might look like if they came to life in the real world.


The iconography forms and principles of presentation in traditional Ethiopian church art were kept and passed from generation to generation. Painters knew how to draw in a flat style – not deceptive neither elusive, direct, objective and without background and using only black, white, and the colors yellow, green, red, and blue. At the height of its stylistic perfection, Ethiopian art renounced the illusion of volume, depth, and perspective. The paintings were “conceptual” and composed of a series of image signs according to spiritual considerations. These image signs, arranged on a flat surface, are meant to give the impression of an idea or a narration. Human figures, the apotheosis of Ethiopian art, are characterized by non-realistic head and body proportions and usually static poses.

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