Lulseged Retta

Artist Name
Lulseged Retta
Total number of artworks
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date of birth
About the Artist

Lulseged Retta, born in 1952, stands as a towering figure in the Ethiopian contemporary art scene, celebrated for his innovative fusion of traditional Ethiopian themes with modernist influences. His artistic expression is a dialogue between the past and the present, where Ethiopian Orthodox Church art, a deep-seated love for music, and a reflective interpretation of modern Ethiopian life converge in his works. Lulseged is driven by a profound commitment to celebrate, nurture, and preserve Ethiopian culture, viewing it as a rich tapestry of beauty and history that requires careful stewardship.

His canvases are marked by distinctive iconography, such as the recurring motif of the "African mask" and the characteristic large, oval-shaped eyes that dominate his figures, symbolizing wisdom, beauty, and innocence. These exaggerated eyes also serve as a nod to the long-standing tradition in Ethiopian art of creating a "reversal gaze," where the artwork engages with the viewer, adding a dynamic layer of interaction.

Lulseged's formal art education commenced at the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts, after which he ventured to the then USSR in the 1980s to pursue an MFA at the Academy of Art Repina, in what is now St. Petersburg. His return to Ethiopia marked the beginning of a prolific career that has seen him emerge as one of the nation's most esteemed painters. In addition to his artistic endeavors, Lulseged has dedicated over a decade to curating "Art of Ethiopia," an annual exhibition at the Sheraton Addis Ababa, further cementing his role as a pivotal figure in the Ethiopian art community.