Published to accompany an exhibition presented by the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco, this new volume showcases the work of Eritrean-born artist Ficre Ghebreyesus. Many of the paintings featured are abstracts, studies of geometric color that highlight the artist’s delight in the material qualities of oil paint on canvas. This collection brings together more than a dozen of Ghebreyesus’ finest works, focusing on abstractly rendered and vivid painted landscapes, replete with water imagery and aquatic life. In all of these evocative, and often surreal, landscapes, the viewer senses myriad influences, from the craft markets of Eritrea to the musical polyrhythms of the black diaspora, the cultural layering speaking directly to the forces that shaped the artist’s life.
Ghebreyesus left Eritrea as a political refugee, eventually settling in the United States, where he earned his undergraduate degree and worked as a humanitarian activist on behalf of Eritrean independence and ongoing relief issues. Along with that work on behalf of his country and its people, he studied painting at the Art Students’ League and printmaking at the Bob Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, both in New York City. He died unexpectedly in April 2012.