Artists & Curators


Tamirat Gebremariam

Tamirat is an Ethiopian born migrant living in Melbourne as an artist. He completed his diploma from school of Fine Art at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia in 1993; where he then went on to have several solo and group exhibitions extensively in and around Egypt, and Australia. In 2001 Tamirat moved to Sydney where he studied Digital Art and Media at Metro Screen before moving to Melbourne. In 2010 Tamrat completed his Master of Visual Art at the University of Melbourne, Faculty of Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). He perused his career further and currently Tamirat undertaking Master of Fine art by research at U.M faculty of the VCA. In 2009 Tamirat was awarded the Martin Foley MP award and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Women's Association Postgraduate Encouragement Award. At the VCA Margaret Lawrence gallery he was awarded 2011-12 APA (Australian post graduate Award) Scholarship, from university of Melbourne.

Tamirat’s work has collected around the world, including Ethiopia, Egypt, USA, Canada and Australia include recently Jaycar electronics, with his friends and families and also the most important a portrait of Dr. Catherine Hamlin, founder of the Fistula hospital in Ethiopia. Among Tamirat works


Black Saturday

The hopelessly tragic February 7th bushfires of black Saturday in 2009 was a catastrophic disaster that desolated families, who lost their homes, suburbs and schools. I was touched by the community support and friendship networks this tragic incident provoked. My current project 2009-10 which exhibited both BMW gallery Federation Square and 45 down stare gallery Melbourne, explores the potential of painting to express the personal feelings experienced during a migratory transition in human identity and individuality.


Tamirat Gebremariam    for the project Victorian Bush fire 2009-10 “capturing the moment’


In early 2009, the painter student Tamirat Gebremariam set out to witness the devastation caused by recent bushfires on the outskirts of his hometown, Melbourne. In response to this visit, he painted a series of works, creating swirling forms in pictorial space using extraordinary tones of oranges and burnt pinks. It was as if he had captured the phenomenal moment of elemental annihilation. Here was a coded transposition of the power of nature to the surfacing of paint on canvas. The artist’s intention was to vivify that which he witnessed. From the reality of the monumental event of the bushfires (which he visited a number of times once the restricted area was reopened to the public) he returned to the studio and set to work. Armed with photographs of the scene and sketches he had made, he drew on his sensational faculties to create the work. But representational painting is not only about conceptual articulation, it is also a process that is mediated by the material of the artist’s métier and the facility of the artist to manipulate this material in such a way that is conducive to his or her sensibility.


The result in this case was quite stunning. A series of large, abstract, paintings that lay somewhere between early expressionism, romanticism and surrealism. They are works that have a close affinity with nature but they are not natural. They are anti-vapid: There is a hyper-quality about them–an intensity in their focus, colour and affirmation. Their nature is metaphysical. A clue to this effect is that Tamirat has not painted what he has witnessed. It took a long time for me to realise that the flames had been extinguished long before Tamirat had arrived at the scene. Presumably what he saw was a blackened earth with scatterings of grey ash, desolate ruins of properties and blackened skeletal tree trunks–with perhaps a lucky scattering of a few colours that had escaped singeing. So what informed the pictures? It occurs to me that the fire is in Tamirat, himself. It is in his imagination, his dexterity and his ambition. The forms and observations are still there but in these paintings his presence now permeates the redux. And it is this fusion that he generously shares with us in these works. John Meade June 2010


Cultural Revolution

Tamirat stated that in his recent work of project Cultural Revolution is at Footscray community Art Centre Concerning about the creation of the next talented generation around the community and beyond.


“I am looking at ways to explore my identity and history in 2 cultures, (the beauty and authenticity of both Ethiopian heritage and Australian urban cultural diversity) and how these combine in a visual sense. My Ethiopian background informs my painting through my journey from one culture to another, My paintings depicting abstracted, urban landscapes and aspects of figuration from my birth place to the wider globalization of culture. Issues of identity and awareness that I have investigated come from a personal perspective that I have used to explore mapping as a journey depicting an allegorical self portrait examined through contemporary art forms and themes with imagery derived from my traditional cultural heritage, and have explored my cultural shift through living and experiencing the value of Australian multiculturalism from an artistic point of view.


My work has developed and continues to develop, a visual language to express my mixed history and give the viewer an opportunity to join in my journey.  A key intention has been to invite the viewer to a closer understanding of unresolved national stories. The visual story and terminology that I discovered was present in our lives, our culture and our heritage, and is also in myths, social and cultural life taking over each other, sharing and harmonizing with one to another when I transform that to the body of work that will be an expression of generations, layer upon layer replicating the stories, I begin by feeling my own stories and others, discovering and experimenting, and then translate this emotion into the painting. My art reflects both my African past and the contemporary world of the Australian culture and landscape I now live in. From this position as an Ethiopian migrant, I examine these areas to discover my own experiences and those of other living cultures.”