A chat with Addis’s foremost art afficionado
For Mesfin Gebreyes Oda, art has always been an object of interest, starting from his early school days at Lycée Guebre Mariam in the mid fifties and sixties. But it was a chance encounter with the works of Ethiopian modernist artist Gebre Kirstos Desta that made him take the business of art collecting seriously, an unusual passion for an Ethiopian. The 60-year-old Mesfin recalled the day when someone approached him and asked him if he was interested in acquiring the works of the artist Gebre Kirstos. He went right away and saw the self-portrait of Gebre Kirstos and three other of his sketches. “I was so moved. I bought the whole lot, four of them. That was twenty years ago,” he told me recently, sitting in the garden of Sheraton Addis.
Since then Mesfin has been collecting paintings and drawings of Gebre Kirstos, Skunder Boghossian and many other contemporary artists. Find the full story at the Ethiopia Observer.