Abekyelesh Kidan Belay is an Israeli artist born in Ethiopia in 1986.
She and her eight siblings immigrated to Israel in 1994 without parents, having lost her mother at a very young age. She was moved around to various boarding schools until she became part of a unique project for gifted Ethiopian adolescents at the Kibbutz Maabarot boarding school in Ramot Hefer.
Upon arriving in Israel, she was renamed Rebecca but has changed her name several times, returning to her original Amharic name, Abekyelesh Kidan Balay, which reflects the qualities of purity and clarity. Abekyelesh showed an interest in the arts from an early age from the time she was first exposed to the world of art, crafts and the theater. In Ramot Hefer, she began devoting herself to painting, drawing at first on large canvases using watercolors – aquarelle, a medium that has become dominant in much of her work.
She was later accepted to study at the Bezalel Art Academy but decided not to go there. She studied with artist Maya Cohen-Levy for two years, with whom she learnt sketching and developed her specific use of watercolors, receiving an opportunity to establish herself as an independent and talented artist.
The creative drawings of Abekyelesh are expressive and unique, covering a vast range from figurative to abstract. Her work is spiritual and inspiring, depicting social, family and personal themes changing and expanding as she does, both as an artist and a woman.
Abekyelesh Kidan Balay is an exciting artist and an autodidact, exploring and discovering the world through reading, music and the cinema. She recently completed a B.A. degree in humanities and social sciences at the Open University.