Helen Zeru Araya (Addis Ababa, 1987) is a visual artist based in Ethiopia. She studied economics at Bahir Dar University before enrolling at Addis Ababa University of Fine Art from where she achieved her BFA in 2008. After her graduation she studied photography with DESTA for Africa foundation for one year, before enrolling with DAI, where she obtained her MFA in 2017.
Helen's practice often begins as a healing process, dealing with personal incidents in the artist’s life. Starting as a reflection of these private themes the work often ends up entering a broader social context, touching relevant and pressing issues in the society in which Zeru lives. The current and rapid urban gentrification process occurring in Addis Ababa and how it affects the lives of inhabitants from a broad spectrum of society within the city is one such issue Zeru is currently exploring.
Zeru began her practice exploring the medium of woodcut printing. She later moved into mixed media techniques and currently executes work through photography, installation, video art and performance.
Zeru has exhibited extensively in Ethiopia and internationally. Exhibitions include: Public Art Screening, Kampala; Yugoslav History Museum, Belgrade; The Studios Das Weisse Haus, Vienna; EnBw Show Room, Berlin; 1stTibilis Triennial, Georgia; Independent Curators International (ICI), New York; GIZ, Addis Ababa and Modern Art Museum Addis Ababa.
Learn more about Helen Zeru's 20 minute presentation A sun shower|‘the Hyena giving birth’|‘The Donkey is getting married’ for Maelstrom Slow Dance - DAI's 3 day lecture-performance marathon, June 2017.)
Learn more about Helen Zeru Araya’s written MA thesis (DAI, 2017): Institutionalisation of the Informal: How to Account Absence
Follow Helen's "life after DAI" through instagram