A large crowd gathered for the unveiling ceremony for Phase 1 of the Ethiopian Garden on Saturday August 24, 2019. The highlight was the unveiling of the 5-paneled ceramic mural, 12' high x 15' wide.
Front of the wall in the Ethiopian Garden
It was designed by artist Zerihun Yetmgeta with each panel on the front depicting a broad period of Ethiopian history as follows:
Panel 1: The Cradle of Humankind 'Lucy' found in 1974 in the Hadar region of Ethiopia by Dr. Donald Johanson of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Since then, Dr.Yohannes Haile-Selassie, now the museum's paleoanthropologist, has made several more equally stunning hominid finds in Hadar. Also depicted are ancient cave paintings from Dire Dawa that are 4,000 years old.
Panel 2. The Southern Peoples and All Other Ethnic Groups:
Typified here by the Konso, who developed terraced farming, antedating the Axum Empire itself. There are an amazingly diversified 77 linguistic groups in Ethiopia, descended from one ' Afro-Asiatic' tribe of 3500 years ago somewhere just to the north of Ethiopia, which was the origin of the Omotic, Cushitic and also the Semitic languages, subsequently spreading across the Red Sea to the Arabian Peninsula.
Panel 3: The Early Civilizations of Axum and Lalibela:
ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS (in the North): AKSUM, 200 BC to 1,000 AD Iconic, monolithic stelae 79 feet tall, 160 tons.
LALIBELA, 11 monolithic Orthodox churches, 1200 AD. Stone carving excellence of both groups.
Panel 4: The Succession of Emperors
Allegedly unbroken succession from Menelik I (Solomon and Sheba's son) through Haile Selassie. the 'fabulous four', Tewodros, Yohannes, Menelik II (with Empress Taytu), and Haile Selassie, all of whom were involved in and ultimately successful in preserving Ethiopian independence from colonialism. Particularly, the Battle of Adwa in 1896, Ethiopian defeat of the Italians, under Menelik and Taytu, was emblematic for all Africans and other subjugated peoples around the globe.
Panel 5: The Modern Period
Increasing knowledge, science, and hopefully the wisdom that should accompany this knowledge. TIBEB 'The Eye of Wisdom.' "Today's flowers, tomorrow's seeds." Second 'eye' is 'globe' of globalization, the Moon indicating the technology it took to travel there. But we must continue knocking on the Door of the Visual Arts.
The Back Panel is titled "When the Sun Gets the Moon".
This painting by Zerihun Yetmgeta from 1987 carries an environmental message; even though humans developed technology to land on the moon, on Earth we see forests destroyed, cities overcrowded and polluted, and the Earth over-heating from the unmitigated rays of the Sun.
Back side of Ethiopian Garden mural
He says, "Despite modern technology, the earth is being devastated". This painting takes us full circle: from the dawn of humankind, great ethnic diversification, national unity and independence under Emperors, to heights of technology by an overpopulated humankind in this age where everything has a global effect, and now to the unthinkable possibility of "collapse of our civilization and the extinction of much of the natural world," (Richard Attenborough). This painting is a plea from Ethiopia, where the human race originated, for us to do much better if we hope to avert this eventuality.
Visit these other pages for more
Main Ethiopian Garden Dedication page
See photos and videos of the crowd at the unveiling
A detailed look at the new monument (this page)
See the Ethiopian Cultural Garden work in progress one month earlier
Top of Page
Back to Cleveland Ethiopians