A gallery in Sliema is introducing contemporary African art to the island with an exhibition by Ethiopian artist Dawit Adnew. It comes at the time when Malta has just opened an embassy in Ethiopia. 

Adnew is presenting a collection of 19 artworks in acrylic paint, which greatly resemble the work of French impressionist artist Paul Gauguin and which are sure to strike anyone with a love for patterns in the arts of Africa, Asia and French Polynesia. 

Artist Dawit AdnewArtist Dawit Adnew

Like Gauguin, Adnew’s use of vibrant colours seeks harmony among an array of colours and, also like the French artist, he sets his figures against the complementary blues and greens of the tropical scenery. 

He just replaces the French artist’s French Polynesian backdrops with backdrops typical to his beautiful country. 

Most of the time, Adnew’s figures also add their hue to blues and greens with African textile patterns visible in their clothing. 

Bright DayBright Day

“My inspiration arises from movements I always perceive in patterns, forms and colour,” the artist writes in the exhibition’s catalogue.

He is seemingly also inspired by other European artists as one cannot help but notice his own rendition of Girl with a Pearl Earring by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer in one of the works on display.

Town GirlTown Girl

“Like Gauguin, Adnew sets his figures against the complementary blues and greens of the tropical scenery”

Born in Addis Ababa in 1973, Adnew graduated from the Addis Ababa University, Alle School of Fine Arts and Design, in 1995 with a diploma in graphics. It was during his work as a professional printing designer at Adwa Textile Factory where he implemented flat form art techniques.

His membership of the Kitab Studio, where he interacted with members of the studio, enabled him to enrich his career while his membership as a founding member of Netsa Art Village led him to experiment with found objects and recycling. 

In the Garden 2


Adnew has participated in more than 30 group exhibitions and one solo exhibition in Ethiopia and Uganda.

Recent years saw a great surge in African art sales, with the growth attributed to a growing number of African museums, galleries and art fairs, which have also expanded to Europe and the US, advances in cultural infrastructure and a developing wealthy class in Africa.

“We are yet to see more development in the contemporary African art market as the African continent continues to develop and more cultural institutions implemented, as Africa’s growing upper class increases and the wealthy are increasingly turning to art for investment. African art will only continue to become more prevalent, making it the best time to invest in African art,” Christine Xuereb, owner of Christine X Art Gallery, which is hosting Adnew’s exhibition, says.

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Titled Paved Road, the exhibition will open on Friday and run until November 21 at Christine X Art Gallery in Tigné Street, Sliema. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday 10am-1pm, 4-7pm or by appointment. For enquiries or to request a catalogue of artworks, contact the gallery via e-mail info@christinexart.com or by calling on +356 9984 4653/2131 6708. 

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