Acha Debela

Artist, Designer, and Teacher in Durham, North Carolina

Acha Debela

Artist, Designer, and Teacher in Durham, North Carolina

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Achamyeleh Debela was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Addis Ababa and received a B.F.A. at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. He earned an M.A. in Museology and Art History from Morgan State University in Baltimore, an M.F.A. in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and pursued a Ph.D at the Advanced Computing Center for Arts and Design at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He served as curator of the James E. Lewis Museum of Art and Instructor of Art at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. From 1981 to 1987 he taught art at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. From1988 to 1990 he pursued studies in a doctoral program at Ohio State University in computer graphics, animation and Art Education. In 2000 he returned to Africa as a Fulbright Scholar and lived and worked for two years in Ghana and Ethiopia.

Durham - The North Carolina Central University Art Museum will open an exhibition of drawings, paintings and digital art by faculty member Acha Debela on November 1, 2015. Acha Debela is Professor of Art and has been on the faculty since 1990. He has quietly used his art to tell important stories about Ethiopian, African American and African culture. Acha Debela: Draftsman, Painter and Digital Artist will bring together more than 70 of the native Ethiopian’s finest and most representative works, including many that have never before been on view. Of particular note was the receipt of a long lost portfolio of drawings produced during studies at Ahmadu Bello University during the early 1970s. For more than forty years the portfolio was assumed lost until its rediscovery by an acquaintance that tracked Debela down from Nigeria and sent it to him. Many of the drawings from the portfolio are included in the exhibition.Additionally, there are paintings included from the 1980s and 1990s that rekindle images found in Ethiopian Orthodox churches and reveal unblended brushstrokes and clearly delineated shapes. Much of Debela’s paintings and digital art revolves around themes of Ethiopian and African history. More recently he has commented on contemporary acts of domestic and international terror in his digital work. He has been exhibited widely in the United States, Europe, Africa and Australia and was featured in the 2003 exhibition Ethiopian Passages: Dialogues in the Diaspora at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution. His work is discussed in nume