Tekleab is a painter who discovered the possibilities
of artistic expression at a very early age. She was
highly influenced by the rich imagery of her native
culture, and was directly influenced by her older brother,
who liked to draw and used Tekleab as a model.
high school studies at the Fine Arts School of Addis
Abeba were curtailed when war erupted between Ethiopia
and Somalia. Tekleab was taken as a prisoner of war
and kept for nearly a decade until her release in 1989.
her imprisonment, she started to write poetry and developed a fascination for
the power and flexibility of words. Tekleab also became aware of the ability
of the arts to express personal and social issues.
moved to the United States in 1990 and enrolled at Howard University, where she
ultimately chose to study painting.
Tekleab asserts that her biggest challenge
as a painter has been reconciling the differing dynamics
of tragedy and beauty in her work. She draws inspiration
for her work from a variety of sources, but her direct
experience as an innocent captive of war continues
to be the central source of inspiration for her art.
African Literature, The New Book of Knowledge, 1995.
Tekleab: The Color of Words", The Ethiopian