A native of Ethiopia (b. 1972), Betelhem Makonnen lives and works between Austin Texas, Rio de Janeiro Brasil and Addis Abeba Ethiopia. Received her education from the Univerisity of Texas in Austin and the School of Visual Arts of Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro. MFA 2019 School of the Art Institute of Chicago, New Artists Society Trustees Merit Scholar.
My work explores questions about presence, place and perception in the context of time and change. I pay close attention to relationships that are mistakenly perceived as opposites rather than different sides of the same thing. I make time based work, arrested and moving images as well as installations.
My projects are process dependent and rely on research. What may seem under micro analysis a meandering trajectory of disparate interests and divergent paths, when given the time and breadth of a macro view reveals an experimental blending of anthropological, philosophic and historical interests that provided the necessary inputs for the development of my conceptual foundation and art practice. My experiences have shaped me to perceive the relational rather than the reductive and binary. Steering clear of the comfort of certainty, I lead with doubt on a migratory and fluid line of inquiry that lingers in the duration of (in)betweeness created in contradictions, gaps and spaces of connection. I approach the present as a conjugated present, recognizing the future and the past as forms of the present, present in the present. My practice is an exercise of trans-temporal agency to enable mobility of perspective for the potential of unimagined futures.