Ficre Ghebreyesus MFA ’02 at 59th Venice Biennale

Ficre Ghebreyesus (1962-2012) is one of 5 Yale artists being featured at the 59th exhibition of the Venice Biennale. Ghebreyesus populated his works with intricate, highly personal experiences as a citizen of the world. He had no art gallery representation during his lifetime.

Ficre was born in Asmara, Eritrea. He left the country as a political refugee and lived in Sudan, Italy and Germany before coming to the United States, where he earned his undergraduate degree and worked as a humanitarian activist on behalf of Eritrean independence and on-going relief issues. Along with that work on behalf of his country and its people, he studied painting at the Art Students’ League and printmaking at the Bob Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, both in New York City. He later studied at Yale University, where he earned his MFA in 2002 and was awarded the Carol Schlossberg Prize for Excellence in Painting at graduation.

Ghebreyesus made his life in New Haven for almost thirty years, where he lived with his wife Elizabeth Alexander and their sons Solomon and Simon. From 1992-2008, he was executive chef and co-owner with his brothers of the immensely popular Caffé Adulis that brought creative Eritrean cuisine to New Haven and New York City. In the last years of his life he dedicated his work time solely to his art. He died unexpectedly in April, 2012.

Read Ficre’s artist’s statement, written when he was applying to the Yale School of Art here.

View a collection of Ficre’s art at this Galerie Lelong & Co. link.

The 59th exhibition of the Venice Biennale opens April 23rd. On April 21st, the Yale Alumni Art League and the Yale School of Art will hold a reception and talk in celebration of alumni and faculty featured in the exhibition. Register here. 

For a full list of artists at the exhibition, visit here.