Rite of Passage
Wendimagegn Belete
February 23 - April 13, 2024

NOME is pleased to announce Rite of Passage, a solo exhibition by the Ethiopian artist Wendimagegn Belete.

Wendimagegn Belete’s mixed media works evoke a sense of multiplicity, wherein narratives converge and entwine through the meeting of archival materials and spontaneous, instinctive mark making. In Rite of Passage, Belete continues his explorations of history, identity, and the concept of epigenetic inheritance—of memories that transfer over generations and permeate our present—by focusing, primarily, ethnographic images, in relation to art, but also to textile and archival elements. The exhibition draws its title from the notion of “rites of passage,” transitional events like birth, puberty, marriage, and death, which are marked by ritual ceremonies that transcend cultural boundaries.

The works in the exhibition explore tradition, spirituality, and identity by reimagining a selection of archival images captured in the eastern part of Africa, predominantly in Ethiopia, in early 20th century. These archival materials, steeped in historical significance, find new life through Belete’s silkscreen prints and paintings that interweave evocative portraits with intricate technical drawings. Belete’s textile-based works incorporate ceremonial garments, ritual materials, found objects, and hand-woven fabrics. Steeped in references to Ethiopian history and culture, Belete’s works spark reflections upon the relation between the past and present that revolve around questions about colonial history, representation, modernity, materiality, and ownership.

Wendimagegn Belete (born in 1986 in Ethiopia) lives and works in Oslo and Addis Ababa. He holds a master’s degree from the Academy of Arts at the Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø (2017), and a bachelor’s degree in art from ASFAD, Addis Ababa University (2012). Belete’s works have been shown in numerous institutions and renowned exhibitions such as the Three Steps North, North Norwegian Artits Centre, Svolbær (2023);  (Upcoming)  Gwangju Biennale south Korea, (2024);   Codeswitch, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, UK (2022);  Bangkok Biennale 2022, National Museum of Norway in Oslo (2022); Future Generation Art Prize, PinkchukArt-Centre, Kyiv, Ukraine (2021);  Hacer Noche 2022 (an independent biennial in Oaxaca, Mexico), Tang Contemporary (Beijing), Trøndelag Center for Contemporary Art, and Munch Museum, Oslo.

Opening: Friday 23 February 6 to 9 PM
Press Release