Wosene The New Alphabet Exhibition

Posted: Aug, 15th 2018 Contributor: Bilen Shifferaw,

Wosene Worke Kosrof
(b. 1950) grew up in Addis Ababa and has lived in the United States since 1978.  Encouraged in the late 1970's by his mentor at Howard University, Jeff Donaldson, Wosene seized on Amharic script - the lingua franca on Ethiopia that he had often used in his works during his student years - as a distinctive design approach in his art.  Wosene has continued to work with these abstracted script forms in his paintings and sculptures now over more than forty years.

Beginning in the 1980s, Wosene's exhibitions included the art of recycled materials, like El Anatsui later used in his successful art forms. Wosene's sculptures and paintings from that time can be appreciated as early and remarkably assured works that embraced the creative "re-purposing" of recycled materials long before the practice became fashionable by artists and environmentalists alike.

Wosene is the first Ethiopian-born artist to transform Amharic script images into contemporary fine art, creating an innovative visual vocabulary of symbols that can be "read" and appreciated by audiences worldwide. He calls this his "WordPlay".  His compositions are complex 'readings' of current social, political, economic, and human rights issues that also embed the rhythms, counterpoints, and silent spaces of US American jazz.

Wosene's paintings are included in permanent museum collections in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Japan, and his works are in many private collections worldwide. The Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VMFA) in Richmond, VA/USA is just the most recent institution to acquire one of Wosene's monumental paintings, My Liberty.


The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Financial Times, among others, have celebrated his gallery exhibitions with spotlighted reviews.  Now, Wosene's work will be exhibited at Korsbarsgarden.

Opening Times

Open 11-17 - all days June - August, weekends in May and September

7 July 2018 at 7:00pm - 1 October 2018 at 1:00am
Addis Fine Art Gallery Woldfiker Building, 3rd Floor, Behind Mafi City Mall Bole Medhane Alem Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Price: FREE
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