Wendimagegn Belete:
Wendimagegn Belete

19. November – 18. December 2022

  • Free entrance
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Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art presents the internationally renowned artist Wendimagegn Belete.

Belete presents his monumental installation, "Your Gaze Makes Me" (2020-2021), created for his participation in the 6th international award exhibition Future Generation Art Prize 2021 at the Pinchuk Art Centre in Kyiv Ukraine. The exhibition was planned to be shown at the Venice Biennale 2022, but got cancelled due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In "Your Gaze Makes Me", Belete explores cultural heritage and identity, storytelling, and ownership. Through an assemblage of photographs from digital archives and physical objects, the artist raises questions on how history, identity, and narratives are shaped, and who's tellinng the story.

With his interest in the Ethiopian liberation from fascist occupation during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War (1935-1941), Belete has selected 264 photographs that are assembled with various African objects - sculptures, jewelry, masks, talismans, and ceremonial objects, made of wood, animal skins, metal, horns, feathers, and pearls.

We have little knowledge of the identity of these people. The installation's monumental size (5 x 8 m) and physical presence elevate the unknown persons to an almost heroic status. In the end, Ethiopia won the war against the occupying power Italy. Never colonized, the country is a symbol of the Pan-African movement, and the colors of the Ethiopian flag have formed the basis of several African countries. The country's history has largely shaped Ethiopia's identity and sense of self but is still unknown to many.

Russia's occupation of Ukraine has made Wendimagegn Belet's installation highly relevant again, as a monument of unity and resistance to occupying forces.

Press images and info

Wendimagegn Belete (b.1986, Ethiopia) lives and works in Oslo and Ethiopia. He received an MA in Contemporary Art from Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art, University of Tromsø, Norway in 2017, and BFA from ASFAD, Addis Abeba University, Ethiopia in 2012. He has taken part in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and is currently participating in Chaos:Calm - Bangkok Art Biennale 2022. In 2023 Belete will be having a solo exhibition at Nordnorsk Kunstnersenter in Svolvær, and the National Museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Wendimagegn Belete "Your Gaze Makes Me" installation at Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art 2022, detail.

Photo: Amalie Marie Selvik / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art

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Wendimagegn Belete "Your Gaze Makes Me" installation at Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art 2022.

Photo: Susann Jamtøy / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art

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Wendimagegn Belete "Your Gaze Makes Me" installation at Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art 2022.

Photo: Susann Jamtøy / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art

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Photo: Amalie Marie Selvik / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art

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Photo: Amalie Marie Selvik / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art

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Photo: Amalie Marie Selvik / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art

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Photo: Amalie Marie Selvik / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art

Interview with the artist (video)

Photo: Pinchuk Art Centre
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Photo: Amalie Marie Selvik / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art

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Photo: Amalie Marie Selvik / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art

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Photo: Amalie Marie Selvik / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art

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Photo: Amalie Marie Selvik / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art

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