|School of Fine Arts
Jul. 23, 1958
|... It is these tender feelings of deep and silent admiration evoked from our hearts by the |
beauties of creation that should find adequate expression in the fine arts ...
|The ancient paintings that are still to be seen in the great monasteries and churches of Ethiopia,
and the carvings in wood and stone which have come down to us in the ruins of the ancient
palaces, bear witness to the fact that the fine arts had attained a comparatively high degree of
development even in very early times. Although the major portion of these works of art was
destroyed in the wars that broke out from time to time, those that still remain in Lalibela, Gondar,
Shoa, Gojjam and elsewhere fill the competent observer with a sense of wonder and admiration.
Since these works of art are also closely related to the history of Ethiopia, the young artists of Our
country who pursue these fine arts on modern lines can find occasion therein for legitimate pride.
We have established this institution because We consider it a matter of great importance to revise
and develop the fine arts in Our country in a manner which will enable Our artists to combine the
historical and traditional art of Ethiopia with the advantages of modern technical developments in
If Ethiopian paintings and other works of art attain such a standard that they can be sent out of the
country and can hold their own amidst exhibits from other countries, they can certainly help in the
efforts to make Ethiopia known more widely as a nation fully participating in the spirit and the
substance of modern civilization.
Our customary support shall always be forthcoming to similar efforts in the fields of music and
literature as well.
A purely materialistic art would be like a tree which is expected to bear fruit without flowering, and
to sacrifice grace and beauty for mere utility. Those who learn here should from the beginning,
sedulously avoid this spirit of utilitarianism. Our admiration for the Creator's handiwork should
not be limited to those things He has provided us with for our daily needs, but should include all
that is good and beautiful. It is these tender feelings of deep and silent admiration evoked from our
hearts by the beauties of creation that should find adequate expression in the fine arts.
As We have stated time and again, it is easy to begin but hard to finish, and We express on this
occasion both Our happiness at what We see here today, as well as Our strong hope to see this
work which is now begun bearing fruit in the near future.
|Haile Selassie the First - July 23, 1958|