Depicted with vibrant, almost Fauvist colours, the paintings by Alemayehu Regasa Wariyo communicate their expression of childish wonder not only by their choice of palette but their almost doodle-like art style. It’s like the best pieces of marginalia have been refined and made worthy of exhibition.
As a specialist in painting who studied at the Addis Ababa University, Fine Arts and Design, Alemayehu says they have always been attracted to the freedom and openness of children. Using these qualities as a starting point, they then harness them to create paintings that appear to come almost entirely from instinct.
“For me, art is not a skill but a simple expression of feeling,” Alemayehu tells Creative Boom. “I choose to paint about childhood because it is full of so many beautiful memories.”
Tempering this expressive outlook, though, is a solid understanding of art history. Alemayehu is mainly inspired by Swiss-German expressionist, Cubist and Surrealist Paul Klee, as well as the paintings of Russian-French artist Marc Chagall, who is known for his distinctly colourful and abstract style.
“I like the simplicity and child-like works of Paul Klee,” explains Alemayehu. “And I’m drawn to the fantasy elements in the work of Marc Chagall. I want people to feel free and happy when they look at my work. And when I paint, I feel like I am in conversation with nature.”
In something of a departure from most artists working today, Alemayehu has no website or online presence, making these some of the only works you are likely to find by the artist. Perhaps this is all part of their effect, as the enjoyment they offer is ephemeral but impactful, like childhood memories themselves.