In 2016, Rakeb Sile co-founded Addis Fine Art with Mesai Haileleul, creating the first white-cube gallery space for modern and contemporary art in Ethiopia. Since then, the business has grown to become one of the leading galleries in Africa, establishing a prominent international platform for artists from the Horn of Africa. The gallery has spaces in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and London, having recently become one of the founding members of the new gallery complex and arts hub, Cromwell Place.
With her background in management consulting, Sile was well placed to take charge of the gallery’s commercial operations; since 2016, they have opened a project space in London and participated in fairs in Africa and beyond, among them ART X Lagos, Frieze New York, Art Dubai
and the Armory Show. Rakeb was also recently chosen as one of Apollo Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Africa in 2020, a project dedicated to 40 of the most influential and talented people in the art world born or based in Africa.
Recent exhibitions in Addis Ababa have shone a spotlight on the young Ethiopian painter Selome Muleta – whose intimate works explore femininity and domestic spaces – and Adiskidan Ambaye, who makes undulating abstract sculptures in plywood. In October 2020, the gallery
opened their inaugural show, an ambitious retrospective of the work of Tadesse Mesfin, a major figure in Ethiopian modernist painting. It will be Mesfin’s first solo show in Europe – encapsulating Addis Fine Art’s commitment to heightened international exposure for, and critical
reappraisal of, Ethiopian art on the world stage.