A Tribute to our Gr...
By Esther Sellassie ...
2008 : august 30 -- For immediate release

Anatoly Antohin, publisher -- (907) 455 6149

Astewatso means Offering

This book is a product of an exhibition of Princess Wolete Israel Seyoum (1914-1988), considered one of the first female artist of 20th century Ethiopia. The year 2008, marks the twentieth anniversary of her death. This project was initiated as a commemoration of her lifework and of her spiritual and artistic contribution to Ethiopian arts. A collection of 21 paintings were displayed to the public for the first time at the Gallery of the institute of Ethiopian studies, Addis Ababa University on April 14, 2008. From this occasion sprung the idea to publish a catalog of her work, as well as a biography of this remarkable woman, in an effort to preserve and share her vision. A brief summary of this book follows.

This is the story of an extraordinary woman who lived in a world which has long disappeared. It is a rare and intimate portrayal beginning in 1914, one year after the death of Emperor Menelik and the year of her birth. The story unfolds in the span of seventy four years ending in 1988, amidst the turbulent period, the latter years of the Ethiopian revolution and military dictatorship of the Derg (1974 – 1991).

The reader enters a fascinating world of personages and significant events in Imperial Ethiopia. It is a story of a pioneer; as she is celebrated as one of the first women artist in Ethiopia. She dared to cultivate her God given talent during a time when such a vocation was neither encouraged nor appreciated. She fully devoted her art as a form of worship and for the purpose of her spiritual fulfillment. It is a powerful story of a woman and her unwavering struggle to live a life of purpose. Born into the aristocracy, she lived through two arranged marriages; endured countless personal tragedies including the death of her only daughter. In the end, her spirit soars . . .it is the power of her love and the awe-inspiring dedication that overrides all. Princess Wolete Israel is a remarkable model and truly a triumphant figure.

On the occasion of the twentieth year of her death, this book pays tribute to her remarkable contribution as an accomplished artist and an inspirational figure. It includes a catalog of the artist's collection of paintings. Told from a granddaughter's perspective, and based on accounts from close family members, this work attempts to reconstruct the personal life of Princess Wolete Israel Seyoum some thirty years later.

To place orders for the book, contact: Beta Sellassie Publishers
3292 Adams Dr. # 204B
Fairbanks AK 99709
Phone (907) 455-6149

To arrange a book signing or interview, contact Esther Antohin

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Ethiopians & Rastafari
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The Three Pillars

Imperial power without Faith and Nation is meaningless. How to understand God, Crown or the Nation is the task. I placed the Culture among the three, because in today's conditions monarchy is a part of the national cultural makeup. In the past a monarch was a ruler, who governed the state, developing what we call nowadays "culture": today it is a historical heritage and the culture develops the society (more than a state). Perhaps, for a more scientific exploration of this topic, the reader should take a close look at Cultural Studies, new and very productive method.
Monarchy and traditions of aristocracy survived in the most advanced western nations. The less developed countries lost its past and unlikely will ever be able to compete without a process of restoration of their genetic composition.
Very often we point at the United States as a example of a new fully modern nation, which exists without autocratic tradition. The Americans had no common religion and weren't a nation in its origins. How much is America a nation still a questionn. Country doesn't necesserely constitutes the nation, as we can see ion the cases of great emprires of the past.
The empires rise and fall, the culture stays. The Americans after several centuries of existence hadn't develop even their own language. Burke and Tocqueville wrote about the stenght of democracy which is a the long-term weakness.
The American Age is a shorter than a ce. Country doesn't necesserely constitutes the nation, as we can see ion the cases of great emprires of the past.
The empires rise and fall, the culture stays. The Americans after several centuries of existence hadn't develop even their own language. Burke and Tocqueville wrote about the stenght of democracy which is a the long-term weakness.
The American Age is a shorter than a century and ecomonic power never preserved the great civilization from disintegration.
The dichatomy of culture and civilization is well established and our task is examine the monarchy institution in cultural aspects.
The subject is not purely academic. The Soviet Union was based exclusevely on the state machine and even its name is vanished now.
The spectacular raise and impressive existence of the Nazi Germany lasted only twelve years precicely because there were little cultural foundations for such a state. We saw the cult of personality (Hitler, Stalin, Mao), when the autocratic powers were surpassing of any monarchy of the past.
The socialist doctine prevented national ideology from affiliation with the Protestantism. Socialism and nationalism is a strange mix.
All the famous tyrrants of the century became barbaric King-Gods, which was an outdated concept even before the Greko-Roman times.
We can see how the post-Soviet countries are struggling with the issue of self-identity. Contrary to the popular opinion, Russia's problems are not in economy, but in their cultural crisis, which has over hundrend years of history.
The triad "Monarch, God, Nation" wasn't an accidental combination and had the life of the universal formula.
Any country which is not originated in a the fashion of the North American colonies, will have a taugh time going through transfiguration.
The paths of the present are abvious, we have enough data to understand what the modernist trend can offer us.
The issue is the free from revolutionary politics future. The future which we see even today. How long will the American super-modernist model continue to diminate our minds?
At the end of the century USA became a number ten in the standarts of living and the American educational standarts perhaps can tell more about the future.
Civilization is about big numbers, but the big is not the best survival.
...why should we be concerned with the "life after us" (and therefore -- before us)? "Now" is a dangerous place to be.
You never know what is next. The nmass hysteria known as "news" is a direct result of our paranoic existence.
We need 24-hour non-stop information because we do not know what to expect. Our prosperous postmodern man is a neroutic full of supressed panic, denied fears and he is extremely unstable. That is the fate of man without culture.
His peace is occupied by inticipation of crashes and bad news. He has to elect, re-elect, re-evaluate and keep choosing without any rest. The only unchangable is the pace of changes. How pleasant is his wonderful life? The use of drugs should tell you.

So, how did they live in their "static" universe before us? Frazer made an interesting observation about the mind of a prehistorical man: his world was the place of constant changes, he knew next to nothing about his world, understood no laws which governed his environment.
Everything was "news" to a primitive. Frazer writes that this state of mind was resposible for the stagnation when it was impossible to develop anything.
That was the reason for our giant leap into "History," where the world became familiar and friendly. Did men "invented" gods?
What difference does it make if with the establishing of the LOGIC, we imagine many childish pictures and thoughts? More important was the DISCOVERY of ORDER! The Idea of God was very scientific in nature.

Now, what about the superiority of man? Over woman? But how about over animals?
The non-equality came into action to define the idea of QUALITY. Everything was important in the barbaric mind which was too busy to THINK about anything. With positioning himself between the animal kingdom and God man began his history, because now he had the priority of values.

[to be continued, see Monarchy Directory!]

Anatoly Antohin


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The sacred art of Ethiopia
by Marilyn E. Heldman

One of the most important events in Ethiopian art history occurred around 330 A.D., when Ezana, the Askumite ruler of the highlands of northeastern Africa, accepted Christianity. This occurred not long after the emperor Constantine declared Christianity a legal religion of the Roman Empire. Ezana's acceptance of Christianity is not surprising in light of the commercial ties between Rome and Askum. By round 500, the most sacred of Christian texts - the Gospels - had been translated into Ethiopia, and the foundations of a Christian artistic tradition, setting the course of artistic development in the region, had been firmly established. Pre-Christian Askumite rulers celebrated their victories by setting up monumental statues to the gods of heaven and earth, but because the East Christian Orthodox Churches eschewed the making of "graven images," the Christian art of Ethiopia includes no sculpture. Therefore, Ethiopia's Christian rulers celebrated their majesty by building churches and endowing monasteries. The city of Askum became symbolically the New Jerusalem, and the cathedral there was dedicated to St. Mary of Zion, after the church of the Apostles on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Until the twentieth century, Ethiopia's rulers considered themselves latter-day Israelites who, like King David and King Solomon, ruled by the grace of God.

The exhibition African Zion: The Sacred Art of Ethiopia, currently traveling to venues in the United States, features the little-known as Abyssinia, from which the modern state of Ethiopia developed in the late nineteenth century. African Zion consists of a rich stylistic variety of devotional images, most of which are painted on wooden panels or on the parchment pages of hand-copied books. Many come from the collection of the Museum of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University.(1)

(1) Marilyn E. Heldman et al., African Zion: The Sacred Art of Ethiopia (New Haven, 1993). The exhibition will appear at Chicago's DuSable Museum of African American History through February 1995. All photos by Malcolm Varon, NYC.[R] 1993.

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