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It was the first time at Volta 13 Basel that Ephrem Solomon’s piece, Life + Reflection 2, was exhibited. Solomon has been inspired by Yuval Noah Harari’s book “Sapiens”. The book charts humanity from our earliest times and origins to the present day in order to analyse our current time as well as the future. Harari explains that, while we started out as insignificant organisms and animals, fast forward millennia and we are now being transformed into masters of the universe, as well as the ultimate terror on the planet’s eco systems. The questions we are forced to ask ourselves include: what do we really want? Are we creating a future that gives immortality to only the few privileged and rich? What is ethical? We are surrounded by narcissistic self portraits, as if we were self-made Gods. Who are we, the book asks, to believe we are above nature? Solomon reflects on that we are based on that we are all coming from seven different human species, but we are all down to one but still looks at each other as so different. With creating his own versions of Sapiens – humanity and identity, he examining in a variety of new portraits, deconstructing and reanalysing the essence of self – sometimes fractured, often obscured, but always peering under the skin to examine the core beneath. This new piece by Solomon communicate with his previous work where he observes his environment and presents socio-political works using woodcut, paint and mixed media. Informing his work are views of the city and the people that inhabit the spaces around him, as does a fictional world that exists beyond the present - a reality that is free from the limitations of anecdotal recordings of experience. Using black and white to symbolize this juncture in reality, Solomon presents his observations though symbolism and use of archival material, which provide personal and political narratives beyond his locale. In his works, the chair is representative of past, present and future authority, while slippers represent society. ‘We often do not see the presence of those chairs and slippers in our home. I question their power within the home, their ability to go unnoticed, yet be ingrained in our day to day activities’. Many of his works remain untitled, allowing viewers to identify themselves and those around them. Solomon has exhibited internationally, including shows in Ethiopia, Kenya, Dubai and Croatia. His works are held in private collections in Dubai, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and the UK, including the Saatchi Collection.
Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Wandsworth, England 2017


KUBATANA, An Exhibition with Contemporary African Artists | Vestfossen Kunstlabratorium | Texts by Osei Bonsu, Nic Cheeseman, Kirstin Jjellegjerde, Lars-Andreas T. Kristiansen and more