A native of Ethiopia (b. 1972), Betelhem Makonnen lives and works between Austin Texas, Rio de Janeiro Brasil and Addis Abeba Ethiopia.
B.A., History and Literature of African Diaspora from the University of Texas in Austin
Coursework in Painting, Time-based media, and Modern and Contemporary Art History from the School of Visual Arts of Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro.
MFA (2019) as a New Artists Society Merit Scholar in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Low Res Program.
A meandering trajectory of seemingly disparate interests and divergent paths provides me with an experimental blending of anthropological, historical, and philosophic interests that provide the necessary inputs for the development of the conceptual foundation of my practice. My line of inquiry lingers in spaces of virtual conjunction created in paradoxes, feedback loops and sites of connection.
Working with a variety of mediums that include video, photography and installations, I explore questions on perception, presence and place within a trans-temporal and trans-locative topology that operates on the relational dynamics of diasporic consciousness. I seek material equivalences that reflect a conjugated present – recognizing the future and the past as forms of the present, present in the present.
My practice ultimately is a futile exercise to potentialize impossible futures.