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Embassy Announces Winners of Four Freedoms Art Competition

U.S. Ambassador Booth Announces Art Competition Awards of 100,000 Birr: Envisioning President Roosevelt's Four Freedoms Today

Addis Ababa, January 13, 2011:  U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald E. Booth today announced four winners of an art competition marking the 70th anniversary of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous "Four Freedoms" speech on January 6, 1941, to the U.S. Congress.  The four winning art works were unveiled at an awards ceremony attended by the nearly 200 art competition entrants and other guests.

The four winners for each category are:

  • Freedom from Fear: Robel Berhane
  • Freedom of Speech: Birtukan Dejene
  • Freedom of Worship: Asnake Melesse
  • Freedom from Want: Haron Sulieman

The U.S. Embassy invited Ethiopian artists to express their own interpretations of the four freedoms articulated by President Roosevelt 70 years ago.  More than 250 works of art were submitted to the U.S. Embassy by December 31, 2010.  A panel of judges selected the four winning art works for awards, one depicting each of the four freedoms: freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear, and freedom of speech.

U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald E. Booth noted in announcing the Four Freedoms Art Competition:  "We hope this art contest will spur interest in American history and popular art as we open our new Embassy building.  Norman Rockwell's illustrations of President Roosevelt's four freedoms are deeply familiar images to most Americans and a special art form that we would like to share with our Ethiopian friends."

At the invitation of the U.S. Embassy, Ms. Laurie Norton Moffatt, the Director and CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is visiting Addis Ababa from January 9-13 to serve as a judge for the art competition and to conduct a series of programs for local artists, art students, museum officials and curators.  Her lecture on Norman Rockwell's life and work included slides of the artist's 1964 visit to Ethiopia and his paintings of early Peace Corps volunteers.  Ms. Moffatt also presented a workshop on American museum and visual art institution best practices.  Ms. Moffatt expressed that she was "exceptionally honored to represent Norman Rockwell's art and our museum on this cultural exchange."  During her time in Addis Ababa she noted that "the quality of the works submitted was exceptionally high.  Ethiopia has a vibrant, talented art community, whose evocative expressions of the Four Freedoms moved me deeply."

The judging panel selected 25 of the submitted art works (including the four finalists) for display at a special exhibit in the new U.S. Embassy building for one month.  These art works will also be available for viewing at a virtual gallery on the Embassy's website (http://ethiopia.usembassy.gov).  The four finalist art works will be on loan to the U.S. Embassy for display at the U.S. Ambassador's Residence, Roosevelt House, for three years (after which they will be returned to the artists). 

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