Workneh Bezu Kassa

(b.1978, Ethiopia)




Workneh Bezu Kassa, né à Addis Abeba en 1978,  est diplômé  en design graphique de Addis Abeba University School of Fine Arts and Design en 2001. Membre du Habesha Art Studio depuis le début des années 2000, Workneh Bezu Kassa est considéré aujourd’hui comme l’un des fers de lance d’un mouvement artistique que la presse éthiopienne n’hésite pas à nommer  la «révolution bohème» . Ses oeuvres, totalement décomplexées et en rupture avec l’héritage de l’iconographie «historique» éthiopienne, offrent une multitude de signes, de codes, de personnages mythiques ou purement imaginaires qui évoluent dans un monde  multicolore et joyeux. Workneh Bezu croit au pouvoir de l’icône. Pour lui , l’image a des vertus curatives et parvient à guérir de la morosité celui qui l’observe. A travers ses œuvres vives, puissantes et fortes, Workneh veut transmettre sa passion pour l’art et ses sentiments d’énergie, de puissance et de bonheur. Ses dernières créations «The Pictures between you and me », ont été très remarquées lors d’une récente exposition à l’Alliance Ethio-française d’Addis Abeba. 




2014The pictures between you and me, Alliance Ethio-Française, Addis Abeba

2011 I do what I think/love, Alliance Ethio-Francaise,

2008 Happiness with my paintings, Alliance Ethio-Francaise, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

2007 Africa Child day, Alliance ethio- francaise

2006 Once there was a girl, Residence of American Embassy's Secretary, Addis Ababa 




Langano 2, Alliance Ethio – Française, Addis Ababa Langano 1, French Embassy in Addis Ababa


Habesha Art Show, Lela gallery, Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa University School of Fine Art and Design Residence of First Secretary of USA Embassy




Ethiopia Remix, Alliance ethio – française

American Community School, Addis Ababa



Addis Art gallery, Los Angeles, USA Friendship

Saron Studio, Addis Ababa

Habesha, Alliance ethio – francaise,, Addis Ababa

Plus d'infos


« Je veux transmettre de la force, de l’énergie vitale à travers mon art . Toutes ces choses positives et puissantes que l’on croise dans la vie de tous les jours , je m’efforce de les traduire en peinture . J’ai commencé avec des signes puissants, les forces de la nature qui agissent sur nous physiquement et moralement comme le soleil , la lune et plus tard les yeux …/…

Un jour une femme m'a dit : « si vous vous préoccupez du bien-être des enfants , les anges veilleront sur vous » . Cette phrase est restée dans mon esprit et demeure aujourd’hui le leitmotiv de ma démarche artistique.  Dans mes oeuvres, peinture ou sculpture, la présence d’anges, d’églises et d’enfants sont  une sorte de prière. » Workneh Bezu

« I live my life as part of my thought : easy, tasty and with joy. So is my art : colorful  powerful, strong and showing happiness. But anyway, I prefer simple art.

After school, since we fight for establishing our studio, we get strength and increase each one inspiration. So I got energy for completing two movies for children, and on the side continuing painting.

I born in Addis, leave in Addis, and feel to stay here as I like life in Addis, even though I would enjoy going abroad for workshops or exhibitions. I want to give energy through my art. As I appreciate powerful things in life, I feel to paint them. I started with powerful signs that used to affect us physically like sun , moon, and later eyes... Some series were also about the beauty of women.

Then, once a woman told me : « if you look after children, angel will look after you ». This sentence stayed in my mind and I adapted it to my art, painting or sculpting women, angels and churches - which were also kind of prayer to God - and children. …/…

My art is a mix of my school learning  my own composition and my feeling of strength and happiness. Weather I create oil paintings, pastels and sculpture on topics explained before (made of gibsen and white cement, or of bottles combination), weather puppets & movies for children. Through movies, based on traditional Ethiopian culture and natural themes, I tried to pass easy and important messages for children life, as not to be afraid by rain, not to steal or to take care of hygiene. »


A nation that houses harmoniously religion, culture and tradition –Ethiopia….


A number of countries are proud of their mineral resources; others are pleased with their civilization and wealth. Ethiopia, however, stands as an incarnate of the value of mutual respect of her peoples. Therefore, Ethiopia is a nation that persistently upheld her culture and tradition and religion, the foundation of mankind; Ethiopia, a great country that could portray faith in painting and mold with her profound understanding of faith. Ethiopia is a country in which a human being is respected merely for being a human being. This is the truth in the heart of each Ethiopian. As known among many of us, our brain grasps insight and explores for more when it associates it with an image. It recollects things either by associating with an image or sound. Therefore, it is quite easier for our mind to grasp abstract sweet truths by associating in the form of images; that is why images are more preferable for this does not require our mind to force itself to recollect. And that is why we can also see things which we do not see if we do not want to. We can avoid seeing, not hearing, by blindfolding our eyes. This is the reason why I painted in this way what I like and what human beings like too.

Ethiopia is the first land whose people graciously and respectfully welcomed Christianity. Ethiopia is the nation that respectfully hosted as guests the families of Prophet Mohammad who stuck to the good teachings of Islam when they sought asylum to the land of the habasha. The people of Ethiopia welcomed and hosted the families of the Prophet Mohammad along with their religion.

Therefore, this is not to teach about the principles of religion which are contrary to my experience; rather, it is to honor those who have the ability to teach. In addition, it is a color which I have chosen to portray the true faith we accepted from religion. This is a beautiful image that took place within my honest and courteous heart.

A finger that points to the sun is not a sun itself; yet, it deserves respect for the mere fact that it points.

Thank you!!

Workneh Bezu