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Tariku Shiferaw

Galerie Lelong & Co., New York, is pleased to announce its representation of Ethiopian American artist Tariku Shiferaw (b. 1983). The gallery will hold its first solo exhibition of his works in Spring 2021.

Tariku Shiferaw is known for his practice of mark-making that explores the metaphysical ideas of painting and societal structures. This formal language of geometric abstraction is executed through densely layering material to create “marks,” gestures that interrogate space-making and reference the hierarchy of systems. As the artist explains, “A mark, as physical and present as cave-markings… reveals the thinker behind the gesture—an evidence of prior markings of ideas and self onto the space.”

Mary Sabbatino, Vice President/Partner at Galerie Lelong & Co., says, “Abstraction as a language to communicate political and social ideas and utopia has a long history in modernism, beginning with Malevich. Though many younger artists have embraced figuration to talk directly about today’s confrontations with injustice, Shiferaw’s investigation of the grid and surface demonstrates that abstraction is just as powerful a language for a commentary on humanity’s struggle at this moment in time.”

Aside from paint on canvases, Shiferaw also incorporates ready-made objects and materials in his installations, often using transparent and colored mylar, and subverting their utilitarian characteristics in assembly or hanging to create a body of evocative works that question perception and space. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, growing up in Los Angeles, and currently based in New York City, Shiferaw finds inspiration from the diverse cultures in his environments, particularly in the areas of music and language. Shiferaw’s ongoing series of paintings One of These Black Boys references musical genres that have originated in black communities—Hip-hop, R&B, Reggae, Afrobeats, Blues, and Jazz—a context that charges the works with musical references, identities, and cultural histories. Shiferaw’s work may be understood in the framework of midcentury abstraction, but the artist also infuses this formal vocabulary with critical observations from popular culture.

The artist is also represented by Addis Fine Art (Addis Ababa and London).

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