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Original ATA News Release
2007 Congress Agenda

Mfundishi Sanaa Afewerk Tekle
by Ankhshashak Heru-Khuty Ankhmeniition


Tekle art

On my holiday from the New York City Board of Education, I traveled to Africa with a group of African educators called The Africa Group. Every February, the group travels to some unique destination in Africa. This unique group of educators seeks to bring back first hand information, about Africa, to share with their students. This February 2000 the group traveled to Ethiopia and I was among the fortunate. The group was fortunate to visit a renowned artist.

Visionary, spiritual, talented, humanitarian, naturalist, Afrocentrist; these are the words that so inadequately respond to the personality of Afewerk Tekle. Tekle, whom I call Mfundishi Sanaa, a Kiswahili term meaning, a master of arts is an internationally known artist? Mfundishi Sanaa Tekle was born in 1932 in the North Shoa town of Ankober, Ethiopia.

He studied Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture at London University and the Accademia di Michelangelo in Florence, Italy. Later he would join the Slade Faculty of Fine Arts University of London. Tekle's work has been exhibited in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Russia.I first saw Mfundishi Sanaa Tekle's work in the form of scarves on the airplane leaving from New York going to Addis Ababa. I had never seen such beautiful silk scarves. I was moved by use of color, and his style. The scarf was printed with scenes from the meeting of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon.

My mother Nana Ama Serwah Nyarko, the tour leader informed us that we would have a chance to visit his gallery before we left Ethiopia. I was looking forward to that. Upon arriving at Villa Alpha, on the last day of our trip, we immediately realized that the two hours that we allotted for the tour and meeting was not enough. Mfundishi Sanaa Tekle began to show us Villa Alpha and explain the history of the building.

He said that Italian soldiers during the Italian occupation of Ethiopia occupied Villa Alpha. The Italians destroyed most of the paintings that were in the building. They also demolished parts of the home itself. The artist is now in the process of rebuilding his home. A quote from Mfundishi Sanaa Tekle: "When I was young I wanted to see a painter's house, where he worked, where he lived. Unfortunately at the age of sixteen I went to see a priest painting in a church, in one of the churches, and when I asked where he was living. He was living, as was the tradition -- because he was dedicated to the church -- in a grave house. And this always rang a bell in my mind as a young art academic student when I visited the homes and the places where the great artists in Europe, Raphael, Leonardo or contemporary artists like Picasso and all these, I always wished I could live something like that.

So that will be hopefully my legacy, as a realistic thing, with an endowment, so that the Ethiopian, the African will live, see and be even more creative." As we moved inside the building the Artist showed us his most famous work Mother Ethiopia 1963. The work is valued at 10 million USD. Mfundishi Sanaa Tekle stress that the work was not to be sold but to beleft to Ethiopia. He went on to explain the many awards that he received for his artistic accomplishments which include: Order of Arts & Letters, France; Toastmasters International Hall of Fame;

Distinguished Toastmaster, Toastmasters International; Life Fellow, International Biographical Center, England; Life Fellow & The Golden Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement, American Biographical Research Institute; Title of His Highest Prince of the Holy Sea, The Vatican; Honorary Citizenship, Orange County, CA; National Order of Senegal; Officer of the Star of Ethiopia, Order of Merit Egypt and Commander of the Order of Menelik II. After receiving the Knight Commander of the Order of St. Sylvester of the Vatican Mfundishi Sanaa Tekle was asked to produce a painting of him wearing the black costume of the Italian Knight Commander with his honors and orders.

Ankhshashak Heru-Khuty Ankhmeni is a Photographer. He photographed the pictures for this article. Ankhmeni is a Staff Developer/Math Coach with the New York City Department of Education. He has trained math teachers for the past 5 years with the NYC Dept of Ed. He is a member of The Africa Group World Travellers and has founded Moja World Travellers a Special Tours division of The Africa Group. Mr. Ankhmeni is a board member of Global Alliance for Education, Health and Human Services, Inc. a non-profit organization that supports development in Africa.

Jonathan Wosu, Photographer

"I believe that my photography reflects the humility I have for the medium, and my appreciation of the power it has to dilute the fear that ignorance generates. If as much as one of my pictures contributes to attenuating this fear, I will consider my efforts successful. If two ... then I will consider myself blessed." Jonathan Wosu. The 1999 Congress Edition cover, photo (above) by Mr. Wosu, was a standout. The West African drummer sending his message of 'Akwaaba ' proudly announced the 1st ATA-WTO World Congress in Accra, Ghana. You'll see more photos by Jonathan Wosu in this edition, and web site. His company provides many attractive and useful photo-related specialties and services. Contact: Bijon Promotions, PO Box 91, Piscataway NJ 08855, tel. 732-463-1505, fax 732-463-1505

Robert Eilets, Photographer
Among some tribes of the Diaspora, tribesman avoid being photographed, as it is believed that ones' soul will be forever lost on the earthly plain. When one views photographer, Robert Eilet's work, one can certainly appreciate the basis of this belief for he has surely captured the spiritual essence of his subjects. The wisdom of the elders, the devout faith of men, the innocence of the little babies swaddled to their mother's backs as well as the quiet dignity and beauty of the women are all evidenced in this exceptional photo exhibit that chronicles. R. E. Eilet's travels throughout Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Egypt, Mali, Beijing- China, India South Africa , and Brazil. His attention to color, light and composition mirror that of an accomplished artist placing his work among the most noteworthy of today's contemporary photojournalist Undeniably a photo legacy that will be enjoyed for years to come.
See Eilets' Holy Route Photos on this site, plus the following links: