Helen Zeru

Helen Zeru is a visual artist based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Her practice often begins as a healing process, dealing with personal incidents in the artist’s life. Starting as a reflection of these private themes the work often ends up entering a broader social context, touching relevant and pressing issues in the society in which Zeru lives.  The current and rapid urban gentrification process occurring in Addis Ababa and how it affects the lives of inhabitants from a broad spectrum of society within the city is one such issue Zeru is currently exploring.

Zeru began her practice exploring the medium of woodcut printing.  She later moved into mixed media techniques and currently executes work through photography, installation, video art and performance. Zeru has exhibited extensively in Ethiopia and internationally. Exhibitions include Public Art Screening, Kampala; Yugoslav History Museum, Belgrade; The Studios Das Weisse Haus, Vienna; EnBw Show Room, Berlin; 1stTibilis Triennial, Georgia; Independent Curators International (ICI), New York; GIZ, Addis Ababa and Modern Art Museum Addis Ababa.


Zeru created two video installations and one public intervention or performance about migration for KLA ART ‘14. She used a tree as a symbolic way of explaining the different stories of those who migrated to Uganda. She used a static symbol and decided to uproot it and replant it somewhere else, prompting questions about how migrants restart their lives in new places.