The atmosphere at the Peabody Essex Museum is as cool as the exhibit “Ethiopia at the Crossroads.

This presentation of multi-national thought is vibrant and confidently bold!

Celebrating an ongoing fusion of cultures rooted in African, Asian and European traditions, this first ever American exhibit examines Ethiopian Arts. The collection satisfies the soul of those interested in exploring spiritual traditions but it goes beyond sacred artifacts into striking explorations of sexual-agency, geo-political conflicts and fashion.

Parchment wall hangings covered in prayers were used for healing in Ethiopian homes. The scrolls were commissioned by women, sized to match their height and intentioned to minimize menstrual cramps while promoting fertility. Variations of this tradition are also observed in Armenian and Islamic home devotionals.


“ALL IN ONE” by Aïda Muluneh connects to the subconsciousness of women as a riff on a life of belonging; past, present and future.

Ricocheting around the galleries visitors will find ancient and modern artifacts infused with an eclectic current of humanity. The shocking charge of colors, scents, and sensibilities landmark an intellectual nexus of 2000 years. The synchronistic context of these artistic statements of wisdom continues to evolve.

From the series: Mirror of the Soul by Ethiopian artist Aïda Muluneh. Motivations for these 3 paintings include questioning faith, mortality and legacy

Ethiopia, an often overlooked African nation plays a role in the fundamental understanding of Christian, Judaic, and Islamic observances. The tenants of these faith-based ideologies have been adopted globally and establish cultural crossroads for many societal norms.

Emperor Haile Selassie’s royal cloak, The sartorial statement was designed to perpetuate the image of his importance in the Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopian emperors while conveying power on the political stage of the 20th century.

The Crossroad galleries of PEM are edgy , offering a cool mix of custom and challenge.

Stroll through ‘Ethiopia at the Crossroads”, now thorough July 7th!

*Featured image:  “PUTTING IT TOGETHER” From the series The World is 9, 2016 by Ethiopian Artist Aïda Muluneh celebrates a woman wearing a colorful Daba. It’s customary for only men to wear the cape of celebration. Painted with electrifyingly bright colors the contemporary woman’s face challenges blind acceptance of traditional Ethiopian religious custom.




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