Nina Raber-Urgessa, contemporary figurative painter is selected for a solo debut show entitled “…THE WIFE OF…” opening Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 March at Moa Anbessa Art Studio Gallery in Kazanches, curated by Dr. ‘Mama Desta’ Meghoo. Born in Bodensee Southern Germany in 1982, Nina studied Art Therapy and worked extensively with abused women and refugees addressing trauma and healing through art in her country of birth. Her exhibition includes small to large size oil paintings of colorful contorted figures exemplifying trials and triumphs experienced by many women, personally and professionally. Bold and brassy, Nina expresses her strengths and vulnerabilities through provocative and impeccable fresh paint strokes in a range of pink flesh-colored tones. The exhibition is an artistic homage during Women’s Month acknowledging the strength of women worldwide.
In an excerpt from her self-titled limited edition catalogue NINA, to be launched at her opening, Dr. Desta writes: “Nina’s quest for safe, secret and sacred spaces, is reflected in her repertoire of art. Distortions, contortions … push human and visual limits, exposing the most private parts of the artist’s body and soul. However, Nina’s … TEFASH and THREE LITTLE BIRDS echoes Marley’s hopeful message “…don’t worry about a thing ’cause every little thing, is gonna be all right”, with yoga-esque poses … amidst vibrant colored flora and fauna. Nina recalls, “My grandmother was a painter…she collected and ‘upcycled’ everything…raised in time of war she knew how to make new things out of old things…(also in her collection was) …Black Maria and baby which had a strong influence on my consciousness of black and white and figurative art.”
Nina left her seashore home in 2004 to volunteer at an AIDS orphanage in Kwazulu Natal South Africa teaching art. “Seeing the strong impact of the freedom of art on the children…the effect of the power and influence of art on the mental health of the kids, I decided to study art therapy,” says Nina. Shortly after returning home, she began the journey and balancing act between motherhood, artist and bride, wed to Ethiopian painter Tesfaye Urgessa in 2011. Nina and the entire family of five; including three artistic children Zion, Zoe and Hawi; moved to her husband’s homeland, Ethiopia in 2022, to continue their voyage in art and life. The new chapter for Nina in the diplomatic capital of Africa is fueled by her desire to paint and help in the healing of women and children through art. The Urgessa’s plan to establish a space for art and healing in Langano, as “I too have experienced the need to heal and the road to recovery… my guiding philosophy is “turn your disagreement and pain into motivation,” shares Nina.
The title of the exhibition “…THE WIFE OF…” speaks volumes. That is how Nina was mentioned in a German article about her husband Tesfaye, now a prominent fine artist; paraphrasing, ‘…the wife of…is also a painter’. Her first solo exhibition at the private Moa Anbessa Art Studio Gallery is audacious and unapologetic emphasizing Nina’s journey – enduring, caring and carrying so much. Outstanding works in the show such as “FIT LA FIT” exemplifies cautious confidence, sheltered and surrounded by wispy foliage including a special red flower, found in her Addis garden home/studio. The little girl from Germany has evolved into a strong woman, mother, wife and emerging artist; breaking down barriers and building bridges through her art. An auction of a selected artwork, benefitting the Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (AWSAD) will be hosted subsequently in Europe as an expression of Nina’s commitment to the cause and care of women.