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The Art of Ethiopian Icons

September 12, 2015

Interactive Illustrated Presentation

ATT00001Traditional artist and lecturer, Marina Forbes, will offer a unique interactive and beautifully illustrated presentation on the rich folk tradition of Ethiopian icon painting on Friday, September 25 at 6pm at the Auburn Public Library (49 Spring St. Auburn, ME 04210).
One unique aspect of Ethiopian art derives from Ethiopia’s legacy as an ancient Christian culture set deep in Africa. Though remote and often isolated, Ethiopia developed a tradition, going back to the 4th century involving  contacts with Byzantine, European and Islamic cultures. Ethiopian Christian panel paintings contain a wealth of historical detail and symbolism and reflect diverse influences from Eastern and Western Europe, Coptic and Islamic cultures, and Africa.

image001Traditional Ethiopian art is characterized by its brilliant colors and childlike directness. The 15th century saw a magnificent flowering of painting in the highlands of central and northern Ethiopia. The results can be seen in paintings on wooden panels and in manuscripts. Many of these works were destroyed during the Muslim invasions of the 1530s. However, in the 17th century a renewed flowering of Ethiopian traditional art took place, drawing much from the earliest painting.

Painted and carved Orthodox icons were produced in a tradition that reached its peak at the end of the seventeenth century. The figures were painted in bright and vibrant colors and the icons were decorated with painstakingly hand-carved traditional patterns. The traditional local techniques were used to process and paint wood. The icons together with richly illustrated manuscripts have provided the most defining expression of Ethiopian Christianity.

This program is free and open to the public. It was made possible in part through a grant from the Camden Conference.

The Ethiopian Icon Painting: St. George Slaying of the Dragon
ATT00002Traditional artist and lecturer, Marina Forbes, will offer a unique workshop on the rich folk tradition of Ethiopian Icon painting on Saturday, September 26 from 10am to 1pm at the Auburn Public Library (49 Spring St. Auburn, ME 04210, tel.: 207-333-6640) as part of the Camden Conference on Africa. The workshop is open to adults, teens and  families with children 6 and up.  It is a great opportunity for adults and families to work together and learn about Ethiopian crafts and culture. Inspired by spectacular images of Ethiopian art, program participants will have a unique opportunity to use their creativity and imagination to produce their own authentic pieces of collectible folk art.

Traditional painting techniques and designs are also introduced. The goal is to produce a finished piece of folk art. Throughout the workshop, students will be listening to traditional music.

Paints and brushes will be provided for the workshop. Students should purchase a pre-designed painting surface (there will be several options: free, $10 and $35).

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