A native of Ethiopia (b. 1972), Betelhem Makonnen, currently lives and
works in Austin, Texas. She completed an MFA (2019) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a New Artists Society Merit Scholar and a B.A (1995) in History and Literature of Africa and the African Diaspora from University of Texas in Austin. Working with a variety of mediums that include video, photography, and installations, she researches questions on perception, presence, and place within a trans-temporal and trans-locative topology that operates on the relational dynamics of an African diasporic consciousness. She exhibits in galleries and cultural institutions nationally and internationally. In addition to her practice she is an active member of the Austin-based contemporary arts collaborative Black Mountain Project.



An continual blending of anthropological, philosophic, and historical (both personal and collective) inquiries provides the platform for the development of the conceptual foundation of my practice. My works in photography, video and installation translate perception, presence, and place within a trans-temporal and trans-spacial topology that operates on the relational dynamics of an African diasporic consciousness.

With unfixed, many-ed, and dis-identified figures as points of departure, I use strategies of (re)combinations and (re)configurations to activate in-between spaces existing in paradoxes, feedback loops and sites of connection. My ultimate interest is to create fugitive perceptual experiences uncontained by the logics of hegemonic sensorial vocabularies.




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