Contemporary Ethiopian Paintings; Alexander Boghossian


Alexander "Skunder" Boghossian (July 22, 1937 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – May 4, 2003 in Washington D.C.) was an Ethiopian painter and art teacher. He spent much of his life living and working in the United States.
Alexander "Skunder" Boghossian was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1937. When he was a child, his parents took seriously his talent and encouraged him to become an artist. In 1954 when he was seventeen years old, Boghossian won second prize at the Jubilee Anniversary Celebration of Emperor Haile Selassie I. The next year he was awarded an Ethiopian government scholarship to study in Europe.
He spent two years in London where he attended St. Martins School, Central School and the Slade School of Fine Art. He extended his sojourn in Europe another nine years as a student and teacher at the Academie de la Grnade Chaumiere in Paris, and as a student and teacher in the atelier of Alberto Giacometti. In 1966 Boghossian returned to Ethiopia where he taught at the Fine Arts School in Addis Ababa until 1969.
He made his first trip to the United States in 1970 and, except for a trip home when his father died in 1972, he spent the remainer of his life in the US. The 1974 revolution in Ethiopia prevented Boghossian from returning to Ethiopia. He has lived in the USA as a permanent resident, and artist in exile. Throughout his career Boghossian has had a successful dual profession as an art instructor and artist. In addition to teaching in France and Ethiopia, Boghossian has taught in the USA at Atlanta University, Hampton University, and Howard University, where he worked in the School of Fine Arts since 1974. As a practicing artist, Boghossian's paintings have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Ethiopia, the Caribbean, Europe, North and South America. He is also distinguished by being "the first Africa to..." He was, for example, the first contemporary African artist to have work purchased by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and he was the first African commissioned by the World Federation of the United Nations Association to design a First Day Cover for a United Nations stamp. His pen and ink drawing for the cover and the accompanying stamp were on the theme of "Combat Racism." The date of issue was September 19, 1977.(Smithsonian National Museum of African Art)










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