Tariku Shiferaw | Luam Melake

   1 – 31 May 2018


Addis Fine Art of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and London, and Private View (a new private loft showroom in Soho) are pleased to announce the inaugural exhibition of Private View, New York, “Without Qualities” featuring the works of AFA artists Tariku Shiferaw and Luam Melake, opening Tuesday May 1, 2018, from 6 to 8 pm. Private View is located at 66 Crosby Street, #5F, in the heart of Soho, NYC. Set in an old-school loft, it is a multi-discipline outpost for exhibitions, lectures, showcases, and special projects. Private View provides a new type of program platform that encourages social engagement and experimentation within contemporary art and tangential practices by partnering with an international community of artists, galleries, institutions and residencies. This collaborative project brings together a duel presentation of two exciting Ethiopian-American artists, Tariku Shiferaw and Luam Melake – represented by Addis Fine Art – a pioneering gallery from Ethiopia. Now working in Brooklyn, the artists fuse the cultural influences of their backgrounds and their lives in New York. Their diasporic origins are similar, although their creative artistic approaches and processes are quite distinct. Despite the different approaches, both artists create abstract compositions using carefully selected multi-layered materials that represent the inter connectivity of art and industry. Their work equally portrays intangible, abstract narratives that evoke the viewer’s emotions and memory.
Tariku Shiferaw (b. 1983. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) explores painting and societal structures through mark-making. Taking the names of songs from Hip-Hop, R&B, Jazz, Blues, and Reggae music, Shiferaw makes paintings that embody the experiences and struggles expressed through music by Black artists and composers. Shiferaw often explores a spectrum of topics ranging from the notion of black bodies in a white social construct to the popular idioms of romance, sex and daily life. Appropriating song titles as points of reference for his paintings, the works automatically inherit musical references, identities and histories, portrayed throughout the work. Every song used to title his paintings relays a story that refers to a specific reality; they also become, in their own way, an addition to the physical mark-making the paintings are composed of. Thus, Shiferaw utilizes repetitive patterns both aesthetically and conceptually. Subtle, yet intricate, the works inhabit a distinct space and powerful authority, acting as place holders for Black bodies; they establish, quite literally, a way of being “seen” in a society that often prefers overlooking the Other. His works are in some way as minimal and subtle as Ad Reinhardt’s black paintings, whose large works, made with slight variations in chromatic gradients of black paint, are echoed in Shiferaw’s art. Shiferaw was raised in Los Angeles, where he earned his BFA from the University of Southern California in 2007. In 2015, he received his MFA from Parsons School of Design. Recent exhibitions include the 2017 Whitney Biennial as part of Occupy Museum’s Debtfair; a group exhibition titled “A Poet*hical Wager” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland; and a solo show, “Erase Me”, at Addis Fine Art, London project space. His work has been featured in Hyperallergic, the Washington Post, and Art In America, among a variety of other publications. Shiferaw currently lives and works in New York.
Luam Melake (b. 1986, San Diego, California) has a background in architecture and uses complex structures t oevoke emotive responses from her audience – a delicate combination of counterintuitive, unorthodox designs, constructed with surrealist materials. These techniques are deployed throughout her textile and furniture designs. Melake’s choice of materials is an intrinsic part of her art, as she views this part of the process as the main communicative aspect of her process and output. Melake’s references to Ethiopia’s rich textile and craftwork history are also decipherable in her textile pieces. Her multi-colored tapestry works are abstracted and depart from their traditional grid, with the principle aim of liberating them from contingents of form. Melake received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley, in Architecture with a minor in Art History in 2008. She has twice been an Artist-in-Residence at two prominent institutions: the Museum of Art and Design in New York (in 2017) and the Palazzo Monti in Italy (in 2018). She has worked as a research specialist for prominent art and architecture institutions, such as the Calder Foundation, Demisch Danant, and Studio Sofield to name a few. Melake lives and works in New York.
Luam Melake
Black 2017
Vinyl, Persian lamb fur, cotton
drawstring cord, asphalt
71 x 80 cm
Addis Fine Art – Founded by Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile, Addis Fine Art (AFA) is a gallery specialising in contemporary African art, with a particular focus on art from Ethiopia and its diaspora. In January 2016, AFA opened its main gallery space in the heart of Addis Ababa, launching an innovative programme of exhibitions, talks and events. In October 2016, AFA opened a project space in London, to provide an additional international platform for the gallery’s artist and programme. Addis Fine Art is quickly becoming the leading gallery in the region and continues to strengthen its cross-continental presence at prominent art-fairs, supporting its artists in exhibitions around the globe.
Private View – Private View is a new gallery model that extends beyond the confines of the White Box. Set in an old-school loft, it is a multi-discipline outpost for exhibitions, lectures,showcases and special projects. The space is owned by Swiss-American, interdisciplinary artist Madeleine Paternot and was conceptualized through her long partnership with Artist Liaison and its director Alaina Simone. Private View is as an extension of the free and open-air environment that reflects Verbier 3-D Sculpture Park and Residency that Paternot co-founded in Switzerland with Swiss-American artist, Kiki Thompson in 2011. It aims to provide a new type of program platform that encourages social engagement and experimentation within contemporary art and tangential practices by partnering with an international community of artists, galleries, institutions and residencies.