Ezra Wube:
Five Animations

September  21, 2023 – May 10, 2024

Ezra Wube, still from Possible World, 2021

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 21, 2023, 4:30–7:30pm

Taking over the Yeh Art Gallery’s hallway vitrines, Ethiopian-born, New York-based artist Ezra Wube presents five stop-motion animations that span a period of ten years of his work. Wube’s animations utilize painting, drawing and assemblage to tell stories that traverse places and cultures “in a continuous dialogue negotiating ‘Here’ and ‘There.’” From a poetic recollection of his daily commute in New York City to an interpretation of Ethiopian folktales and an investigation into issues of environmental sustainability in Ethiopia, Wube fluidly weaves together vivid imagery that stems from a confluence of collective storytelling, knowledge-gathering, and his own personal lived experiences.

The earliest work included, At the same moment, (2013) is a meditation on the artist’s memories of his everyday commute going from Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn, to a studio residency on Governors Island. Worlds and memories fold into one another as the animation moves across the city by foot, on the Subway and along roadways; the natural world resonates rhythmically against the architecture of the city and the simultaneous flow of fellow commuters. Wube’s most recent work in the exhibition, Possible World (2021), is a hypnotic visual interpretation of over one hundred interviews conducted around Ethiopia reflecting on issues of sustainability. Across five locations around the country, Wube interviewed a broad cross-section of people such as teachers, farmers, soldiers, nurses, taxi drivers and many others. Bringing oral tradition into a space of lusciously painted, moving-image narrative, the cacophony of perspectives and the resulting animation speak to the possibility to inspire change through conversation and considerations of our collective future.

Ezra Wube (born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is a cross-disciplinary artist who lives and works in New York. His works encompass video, installations, drawing, painting and performance. Previous solo institutional exhibits include at The Africa Center, New York, NY; The High Line, New York, NY; The Fulton Street Transit Center (MTA), New York, NY; Time Square Arts Midnight Moment, New York, NY; Museum of Moving Image, Queens, NY; Addis Atelier, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;  among others. His work has also been exhibited at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; MassArt Art Museum, Boston, MA (upcoming 2023); “Gwangju Biennale”, Gwangju, South Korea; Videobrasil, Sao Paulo Brazil; and the “Dak’Art Biennale”, Dakar, Senegal, and many more. Wube has received numerous grants, residencies and other awards including the Emerging Artist Grant Award, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, New York, NY; AIM Fellowship, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY; “Open Sessions Program,” The Drawing Center, New York, NY; LMCC Residency Program, New York, NY; Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY. Ezra received his BFA (2004) from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA and an MFA (2009) from Hunter College, New York, NY. Since 2015, Ezra organizes Addis Video Art Festival, a platform for innovative international video art in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ezra Wube is represented by Microscope Gallery, NY, NY.

Ezra Wube: Five Animations is organized by Max Warsh, Director of the Yeh Art Gallery, St. John’s University.