Michael Tsegaye (Ethiopian, born 1975)
Ankober IX, 2006
Unsigned with certificate of authenticity
Edition 2/5 photographic print on archival paper
60 x 90 cm
Sold Ksh 493,080
Provenance: direct from the artist through Addis Fine Art Gallery
Michael Tsegaye is a fine art photographer, who has worked extensively in Ethiopia with a focus on detailing the nation’s story. The images of the Ankober series burst with the textures and spirit of the East African nation. Shot in the Ethiopian Highlands, Tsegaye’s black and white photographs portray the fog-enveloped town that was once Emperor Menelik’s capital. Even though Ankober now appears to be no more than a humble rural outpost, the dense fog and diffused light that enshrouds and obscures Tsegaye’s subjects (lowly goats and donkeys, the ghostlike figures of villagers) seemingly raises them to a mythological status. Through the haze (which conceals much of the setting) readily recognisable motifs of the Ethiopian highlands – swaying eucalyptus trees, a woman wearing an embroidered gabbi – peek through. Ankober is as much about the unseen as it is the seen, as competing shades of gray outline both the readily visible and the barely perceptible, resulting in a gradient that wistfully creates a sense of depth.
Tsegaye has exhibited in various galleries in New York, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Morocco, Canada, Amsterdam, Mali, Miami, and Sao Paulo and is now represented by Addis Fine Art Gallery. His work can be found in a number of international magazines and various catalogues including Snap Judgments: New Directions in African Photography, edited by Okwui Enwezor, and published by the International Center for Photography in New York City in 2007.