Seyoum Ayalew was born in Addis Ababa in 1968. In 1981 he joined Addis Ababa University at Ale School of Fine Arts and Design. He studied for four years and graduated in mural arts. After his graduation, he stayed in Dessie, Ethiopia, where he worked to promote art and trained other artists.
Besides Ayalew's arts profession he has worked for ten years with governmental and private organisations. He has participated in exhibitions in various Ethiopian venues, among those: Venezuelan Embassy, Alliance Ethio-Francaise, Lafto Gallery, World Economic Forum, Africa Union, Makush Art Gallery, Serenade Art Gallery and the Sheraton Hotel Addis Ababa/Art of Exhibition. Abroad he has had exhibitions in Ireland, Bulguria, Nigeria, Djibouti, and in the USA.
Inside his art, Ayalew illuminates teh relationship between light and shadow by contrasting the warmth and power of light through hot and cool colours with cool and hot colours. He works towards resolving conflict and tension between these themes through his use of colour and emotion.
In recent times, he has begun to concentrate on Tej House scenes, the dramatic characters that frequent them and the expressions of happiness and sorrow that hang from their faces. Ayalew is stimulated by the human impact of modernity and its demolition of older buildings and poor settlements and communities in Ethiopia.
As its former president, he played a major role in establishing the first Ethiopian Visual Artists Association.
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