Efrem Beyene comes from Wollop Province in the spectacular highlands of northern Ethiopia. He was born in 1964 in Alamata, a small town in the northern part of the region, where his father was a local government official during the time of Emperor Haile Sellasse. 1973, when Ephram was 10 years old, His father was transferred to the city of Lalibella - the site of the famous Ethiopian churches from the 13th century.

Lalibella is the oldest and most holy of all Christian places in Ethiopia. In and around the city are a collection of churches carved right into the mountain filled with colorful walls The objectives of the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition. Hundreds of monks and priests live in the city and live a simple monastery life as monks have done for centuries. They study their Bibles, give welcomes with their bronze crosses and hold their colorful umbrellas over their heads.

It was at this place, among the monks and priests, that Efrem saw the first church paintings and observed its style and technique, a naive style, unchanged over the centuries. He says in Lalibella his eyes were opened. He saw the priests mixing colors of the earth, leaves and local dyes and apply them on large tablecloths along church walls, on animal skins extended over wooden frames and on the pages of religious writings.

In 1977, Efrem attended high school in the provincial capital of Dessie. It was there that he received his only formal education in painting in Ethiopia. At the school's art club, he painted some stylists and copied pictures from art books. Then he started to paint on his own and he developed his own distinctive style.

As a young man, Ephraim’s painting was influenced by the church paintings, but his painting was also a reaction to them. His technique meant a conscious shift from idealism and perfection, to realism and a depiction of Ethiopian everyday life as it appeared. Ephraim wanted to present the Ethiopian people in the countryside in the true. hard light and in their right environments. With paintings that were initially mainly in watercolors with bold brush strokes, sharp lines and floating colors, he developed a freer style that was very different from the church tradition. He wanted to capture the real life and environments around him.

At the age of eighteen, Efrem had his first exhibition in Dessie. The year was 1981. This was the city's first art exhibition ever. Since then he has exhibited eight more times in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, mainly at the Alliance Francaise and the German Cultural Institute.

In 1985, Efrem's paintings were sent abroad for the first time and he exhibited in Paris through Alliance Francaise. The exhibition at the Africa Center was his first in London and it was also his first time outside Ethiopia, the year was 1989. By this time he also explored different, more abstract styles in his painting.

After a successful exhibition in London, Ephram returned to Ethiopia despite uncertain times and a government falling. He got, well back in Ethiopia, the opportunity to show his art to the Swedish ambassador in the country, Birgitta Karlström Dorph. She immediately enjoyed his paintings and his personality and offered him a scholarship to study art for two years at the church. Ruds Folkhögskola in Värmland.

After two years at the folk high school, Efrem continued his studies at the Stockholm Film School and then two more years at RMI Bergh municipality. school. Then followed many years of work in the advertising industry, where Ephraim’s creativity became very useful. Today he works as a consultant for different customers. The work area includes Art Direction and Graphic Design.

Efrem lives in Bromma with his family. He has three children together with his wife, Susanna Kessler Beyene, and he travels to Ethiopia at least once a year to work with us. various communication projects at Swedish companies, or to visit friends and family.

This year (2023) Efrem has lived in Sweden for 34 years and again he paints a lot. Today he is inspired by his former homeland, by life in Sweden and by what is happening in our world. His latest paintings are mainly painted in oil and the typical Swedish landscape is mixed with pictures depicting people's flight across the Mediterranean. Efrem has chosen to name a few paintings “the lottery of life” and hope and despair mixed which is influenced by the spirit of the times. That is the case.

Exhibitions in Sweden

• Final exhibition at Kyrkeruds Folkhögskola, Årjang.
• Galleri Nova, Karlstad.
• Studio K, Stockholm.
• Studio K, Stockholm.
• Ekebyhovs slott, Stockholm.
• Galleri 316 KUBIK , Hudiksvall.