A Gradual Rise in Art Appreciation, Pricing

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Ever since he was a child, Atkilt Assefa, 37, used to draw different pictures on pieces of papers on his own. However, his passion has grown over the years and has become a huge factor in shaping his future career.

After completing 12th grade in 1997, he tried to develop his painting skills by contacting different art students and teachers for four years. In 2000, he met Tesfaye Negatu, a professional painter, who studied art in Russia and now teaches drawing in his one-room class rented from the Medhane Alem School on Swaziland Street in the Gulele District.

Atkilt studied with him for four years. He then rented a studio with four friends and started making traditional paintings on leather.

“Most of our paintings at that time were sold to retailers at a very cheap price,” said Atkilt. “Since we all were beginners and did not have a lot of experience, few of our paintings attracted buyers’ interest.”

According to him, most of the young artists at that time were given very little attention. They tried to promote their art work by themselves, which for the most part was not successful.

“It was very difficult to cover all my expenses just by selling my paintings,” Atkilt recalls.

Over the years Atkilt adjusted the way he priced his paintings. As he got more and more experience, he began to consider things like the time, effort and creativity that he exerted on his works.

It is not just Atkilt that changed his views about the way paintings should be priced; the art industry in Ethiopia as a whole does not have consensus or a specific yardstick by which artists should price their artwork. Read more