Kidist was born in Ethiopia in 1969. She signes her paintings Degaffe, to honour her grandfather who fell in the Second Italo-Abyssinian war 1936.

She received her degree in English & Literature in 1992 from Addis Ababa University and worked for a number of years in the tourism industry. She finally followed her call to be a full-time artist and graduated 2005 from the art school run by the renowned artist & sculptor Alem Teklu Kidanu

Themes, Endurance Art

The plight of women and children, and the hope for a life free from fear and want, are dominant themes of the artist. Since 2006 she engages in the March 8 concept and continues to speak out in her works to stop obstetric fistula. In 2008 she was selected amongst 30 prominent contemporary artists to paint a 100 meters long canvas in Addis Ababa for a campaign against early marriage in Ethiopia, organized by the United Nations.

Arriving in Switzerland in 2009, Degaffe continued her creations, largely in the “endurance” genre which she has adopted early on.

Endurance art shows figurines with only one eye, evoking the look that is turned towards self, and the look of others. Often the figures don’t have ears, meaning that they cannot be heard. Elongated necks and protruding ribs recall the tenacity of people who have survived great famines and other forms of deprivation.

Allegoric representations by wild animals enrich the narrations about her subjects.

The art of Degaffe is a tribute to the universality of humanity, to cultural exchangemigration and integration. Above all, Degaffe’s figures are survivors, who carry their history with pride and resilience. The open look, flowing hair, bright colours, and harmony between people and nature, speak of hope and the beauty of life.


Kidist Degaffe at GALLERY BRULHART, April 2022

Interview in Afrique Opinion, April 2022.


The principal solo exhibitions :

Visages’, Association Le Transbordeur, La Seyne sur Mer, France, 2 -16 March 2020

Endurance’, Centre Social et Culturel Nelson Mandela, La Seyne sur Mer, France, 22 October - 17 December 2014

Une Vision de l’Art au Sud’; Pôle d’Exposition Sud Côte-d’Azur, Toulon, France, December 2011

Sous le pinceau, l’émotion’, Galerie du Magasin du Monde, Vevey, Switzerland, 2-26 June 2010

Regard de l’Ethiopie’, Galerie Basta !, Lausanne, Switzerland, 19-27 September 2008

‘Cherish their dream’, Degaffesart Studio, Addis Ababa, 24-25 November 2006

Portraits and the Principles of the Red Cross’, CICR, Addis Abeba, 12-15 July 2005

Reflets du Léman’, Hostellerie Bon Rivage, La Tour-de-Peilz, Suisse, 31 Janvier-13 Septembre 2017  

Vibrant Figuratif’, Café-Restaurant à la Valsainte, Vevey, Suisse, 29 January-26 February 2016

Bons Bex & d’Ethiopie 0016’, Cinema de Bex, le Grand d'Sel, Bex, Suisse, 3 June - August 2016

‘ A walk in paint ’ Hilton Hotel, Addis Abeba, Ethiopie, 25 Novembre 2005

Roving, commented solo exhibition :

Traces d’émotions’, Résidence le Châtelet, Attalens, 8 Juillet-12 Octobre 2018 ; Résidence Les Berges du Léman, Vevey, 14 Octobre-3 Novembre 2018; Switzerland

The main exhibitions in pairs :

‘Humanités Africaines’, Centre d’Art le Bosphore, la Seyne sur Mer, France, 1-20 April 2017

‘Revivre Mizuno, artiste Japonais’, Résidence Ambassade du Japon, Addis Abeba, 8 May 2008

‘Connection’, Olympiacos Communauté Grecque, Addis Abeba, 10-14 July 2007

The principal group exhibitions :

'Rebirth – in search of one's identity', Gallery Brülhart, Geneva, 6 November 2021 -29 January 2022

'Egalité', Maison de la Femme Lausanne, Switzerland, 11 November 2021-20 February 2022

'Elles II', Association Sud Fraternité, La Seyne sur Mer, France, 5-13 March 2020

Elles I, Maison de l'Habitat, La Seyne sur Mer, France, 7-14 March 2019

LAFF (Lausanne Afro- Fusions Festival), Lausanne, Switzerland, 19-22 July 2018

Un cœur pour les vaches et chèvres à cornes’, Altdorf, Switzerland, 1-16 November 2018

'Réflexions autour du voile' , Fondation Pierre Arnaud, Lens, Switzerland 4-29 October 2017

Les arts visuels au service du dialogue interculturel' , Casona Latina, Lausanne, 12-26 September 2015

Portraits’, Atelier-Galerie ARVA, Vevey, Switzerland, 28 February-19 March 2015

10e Anniv. de l'Association pour la Sauvegarde du Torrent-Neuf, Savièse, Switzerland, 22 August 2015

La Paix Universelle’, Atelier-Galerie ARVA, Vevey, Switzerland, 25 January -22 February 2014

Salon du Chocolat, Messe Zürich, 3-6 April 2014

Sélections’, Skoto Gallery, New York, USA, 26 June - 31 July 2010

‘A la manière de Courbet’, Maison Hugonin, La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland, 3 October 2010

Art International Zurich, Switzerland,  15-18 September 2009

‘La tête dans les étoiles' Flon Street Painting, Lausanne Flon, Switzerland, 26 September 2009

‘Stop early marriage’, project of UNFPA, painting of 100 meters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 7-8 March 2008

ArtAir GenèveSalle Communale, Geneva, 7 September 2008

Paysages & Portraits’, United Nations Conference Center, Addis Abeba, 12-14 February 2007

Images des Couleurs’, Restaurant Buffet de la gare, Addis Abeba, 26-28 June 2007

Elle II’, Alliance Ethio-Française Centre Culturel, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, 8-23 March 2006

Women's Day’, UNECA, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, 8 Mars 2006

Nous’, Bureau de Droit de la Femme, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, 10-11 March, 2006

Give the Chance to Children’ Ambassade of Palestine, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, 11-13 April 2006

Cross at Zebras’, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, 10-17 June 2006

‘Harmonie’, Da_birhan Art Studio, Addis Abeba, 21-24 December 2006

The plight of stranded migrants’, Instituto Italiano di Cultura and IOM, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, December 2005

Artwork from the artist in our collection

iMigration Endurance

African Women with Chocolate (2009)

L'ascension du Cervin (2016)

Switzerland and Me (2013)

Universality of Endurance

Stop Genocide I (2015 - 2017)

End Obstetric Fistula (2014)

Stop Early Marriage IV (2010)

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