Addis Fine Art, Addis Ababa / London
In his current body of work, titled “One Of These Black Boys,” Tariku Shiferaw explores mark-making through painting in order to address the physical and metaphysical spaces of societal structures. The act of making a physical mark is a performative utterance of one’s existence, which inevitably alters the immediate physical space and simultaneously introduces new ideas and boundaries. In appropriating music created by African Diasporas as painting titles, the work automatically inherits the references, identities, and history portrayed through the songs. This also introduces a new method of marking outside of the discourse of painting. Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Blues have historically been instruments of resistance against a system that has repeatedly attempted to silence and erase Black bodies. These music genres have been tools utilized by Black people to voice the need for a place in society. Shiferaw’s paintings operate, in part, as a gesture against the systemic erasures of “Others” whose cultures and bodies are commoditized without agency.