“Aging signifies continuity to me, not death”, says Yohannes Bayou Fikre. His artworks relay this sentiment. Yohannes draws his creative inspiration from time-worn old houses found all around Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia); seeing grace, wisdom, history and continuity in each of them - a natural continuity. “One aspect of life has to end, to give way for the next one to take over; life-substitution and life continuity are natural laws”, he adds, “much like the death and decomposition of a plant is essential to provide nutrition for more plants to grow”. This, Yohannes says, is the core principle in his creative process. “I hope and try to reflect this ideology in my works”, he adds.
At just 24 years of age, his work has undergone change and maturity during his years at the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design, Addis Ababa University, from which he graduated in 2013. Yohannes’s initial work embodied realism - conveying the beauty of his subjects in a holistic approach. In recent times Yohannes started experimenting with fragmenting his subjects and moving towards a more conceptual genera. His use of materials also diversified, including oil paint, charcoal, installations and collage. Yohannes wants to continue developing his concepts and diversify his use of medium to depict his evolving philosophy.
Yohannes has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Ethiopia and U.S. He is also a winner of the painting competition organized by the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2012.