Ethiopian artist Maitre World Laureate Afewerk Tekle was laid to rest at the cemetery of the Holy Trinity Cathedral here on Saturday.
Thousands of people – family members, friends, senior government officials, diplomats and hundred thousands of fans – accompanied his body to the ceremony at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
President Girma Woldegiorigs, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the House of Peoples’ Representatives, ministries, African Union and embassies through their representatives put wreaths at the artiste’s grave.
Afewerk Tekle, 80, died from severe stomach ulcer complications after receiving treatment at a private hospital in Addis Ababa last week.
The artist’s death has received wide media coverage in the Horn of Africa country, with a national committee being set up to arrange funeral arrangements.
Tekle was born on October 22, 1932 in the historic city of Ankober in Shoa Province.
Sent to England in 1947 to become a mining engineer, Afewerk’s artistic talent was soon discovered and he was accepted at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London and later went to the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of London, the famous “Slade”.
While studying in England he made several artistic pilgrimages to continental Europe.
On the completion of his studies he returned to Addis Ababa where he held a one-man exhibition at the Municipality Hall in 1954. It was the first significant art exhibition of post-war Ethiopia.
Soon after his exhibition he left Ethiopia for a study tour in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Greece. After two years of this extensive study, Afewerk, by now a well–equipped artist, returned with full confidence to Ethiopia, to tackle the task ahead and handled different projects.
His paintings included titles such as “Backbones of African Civilisation”, “African Movement”, “African Atmosphere” and “African Unity”, and for Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada, “Africa’s Heritage” which are now in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Ethiopia.