FAD caught up with London gallery Kristin Hjellegjerde ahead of their showing of Ethiopian artist Dawit Abebe at VOLTA NY.
Dalit Abebe No.2 Background 36, 2016, acrylic and collage on canvas, 200 x 140 cm
1 Is this your first time at Volta NY?
Yes, we are very excited about going! Actually VOLTA NY will be our first art fair in the US!
And if it is why are you doing it?
I used to live in New York so this will be a kind of a homecoming. It is quite natural for us to be there as many of our clients are American.
2 Who are you showing and what will they be presenting?
We will be presenting a solo exhibit of new works by the Ethiopian artist Dawit Abebe whom we represent. The solo booth is a continuation of his “Background 2” series of large-scale portraits.
3 How long has it taken to plan /put together a stand for Volta?
As both the Armory Show and VOLTA NY have an African theme this year, it was natural to ask Dawit to participate.
He has used the last months to paint and prepare for the fair and I can always trust that Dawit will create great work, therefore our planning part has been only fun. The more stressful part is the shipping, we had them first arrive here in London in tubes, which we then had stretched and packed for New York. Surprisingly this is cheaper than to have them stretched in New York.
4 what will be success for you?
This will be a great opportunity to introduce Dawit Abebe to New York. Although I have previously sold him to collectors in the US before this will be his first exhibition there. We hope to sell out of course, and to provide great exposure for the artist, but most importantly we want to build stronger bonds across the Atlantic and make many new friends for the future.
5 Will you be going anywhere else when in New York?
Not this time! I just got back from Palm Beach, and will be traveling to Art Dubai right after –
I´ve never been before so I´m hoping to get a feel for it before hopefully exhibiting there in the future!
Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery Booth A04
VOLTA NY ny.voltashow.com
About The Artist
Dawit Abebe, born in 1978, graduated from the Alle School of Fine Art and Design at Addis Ababa University with a diploma in painting, sculpture, graphics, photography and industrial design. In 2001, he founded the Habesha Art Studio in his native Ethiopia, where he continues to be a full-time artist-in-residence. In addition to numerous successful international exhibitions across Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Abebe has also worked with charities such as UNICEF to hold workshops for street children in Arba Minch, Jinka and Addis Ababa. Solo exhibitions include Background 2 at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2015), Background 1 at Lela Gallery, Addis Ababa (2014), and X Privacy at the Alliance Ethio-Française, Addis Ababa (2012), while group exhibitions include Pangaea II: New Art from Africa and Latin America, Saatchi Gallery, London (2015), Concerning The Internal at Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi (2015), Visibles/Invisibles at Fondation Blachere, Apt (2015), the display of the Habesha Art Collection at the National Museum in Addis Ababa (2014), and the touring exhibition Silver Sea Cross-Ship (2013-14). In 2014, one of the works from Abebe’s X Privacy series sold for double its estimate at a major auction of East African art in Nairobi, Kenya. He is currently exhibiting as part of the major group show What about Africa? at Witteveen Visual Art Centre, Amsterdam, and will have his first US solo exhibition with Kristin Hjellegjerde at VOLTA NY in March 2016. His work continues to gain international recognition.