Liminal in the age of mobile-ty is the latest body of work the Ethiopian artist Dawit Abebe created during his period of residency at 68projects in Berlin between October 2017 and March 2018. Dawit Abebe is known for his large format paintings on canvas and drawings on paper that explore narratives of history and identity, the notion of knowledge, issues of surveillance vs. privacy and development as opposed to nature and the environment. His works revolve around the impact of technological transformation vis-à-vis the local and the global.
Limina in the age of mobile-ty in which the artist uses the smartphone and social media images and symbols as a starting point to explore the intricacy of human communication aided by advanced technology. When interaction is erratic and fragmentation and disconnections occur in history, knowledge, time and space. Mutual Identity is the title of the paper that accompanies Limby in the age of mobile-ty. This body of work follows Dawit Abebe's X-Privacy series from 2012 in which he critically examines the themes of power and individual and collective freedom.
Dawit Abebe, who is based in his hometown Addis Ababa, is a seasoned traveler who draws inspiration from the countries and places he visits. His critical observations force him to try and make sense of everyday life at both local and global levels. He is intrigued by the intersection of modern life and tradition. He questions the notion of knowledge and human values. He scrutinizes the scale and impact of globalization and advancement of technology on developing and developing countries as well as on individual and collective identities. Dawit Abebe begins to work on a theme and creates a series of works. Thus, we see him constantly revisiting certain elements that he uses as his artistic vocabulary.
Dawit Abebe works on large canvases which once primed, he collages. And then he collages with a paint that he uses as a background for creating his images on. His paintings are thus layered and textured with meanings that go literally beyond the surface. For his Liminal in the age of mobile-ty series, he has experimented even further and created a third layer using a white gauzy material.
Dawit Abebe was born in 1978 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is a graduate of Addis Ababa University, All School of Fine Arts and Design (2001). He founded the collective Habesha Art Studio together with his friends soon after they left the art school. Dawit Abebe has participated in several group shows and has had numerous solo shows in Ethiopia as well as other parts of the world including the Emirates, France, Germany, Kenya, the Netherlands, South Africa, Tanzania, UK, and the USA. In Europe, it is represented by Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London. His works are in the collections of Barjeel Art Foundation, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, Saatchi Gallery, Frank Cohen, Carole Server and Oliver Frankel.
Join in conversation with 68projects and Dawit Abebe on Instagram (@ 68projects), Facebook (@ 68projects) and via the hashtags #DawitAbebe and # 68projects.