Lot 70
  • 70


8,000 - 12,000 GBP
11,875 GBP
bidding is closed


  • The Split
  • signed and dated 1992 (lower right); signed, dated and titled (on the reverse)
  • mixed media on canvas
  • 96.5 by 66cm., 38 by 26in.


Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner


New York City, New York, Contemporary African Art Gallery, Skunder Boghossian, 1992
New York City, New York, Contemporary African Art Gallery, Skunder Boghossian, 1997

Catalogue Note

Following his formal training in London and Paris, Skunder moved back to Ethiopia in 1966 before accepting a teaching position which took him to the USA in 1970, where he taught at the Atlanta Center for Black Art, then at Howard University from 1972. When a civil war began in Ethiopia in 1974, Skunder could no longer return, and lived in exile until his death in 2003. As a young man in Europe, Skunder had witnessed from afar the end of Italian colonialism and British administration in Eritrea, and its federation with Ethiopia in 1950. Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie dissolved the Eritrean parliament and annexed the territory in 1962, and the ensuing Eritrean War for Independence lasted 30 years against successive Ethiopian governments until 1991, when the Eritrean People's Liberation Front finally defeated the Ethiopian forces in Eritrea. As an artist living in exile for over 20 years at that time, Skunder would have followed news about Ethiopia and its neighbour closely, including the peace talks that took place in his adopted home city Washington DC in early 1991. It was in this context that he painted the current lot, marking the split between the two countries, ahead of independence being officially declared by UN-supervised referendum in early 1993. Just 5 years later, in 1998, a border dispute led to the Eritrean–Ethiopian War, which officially lasted until June 2000. However, the two countries remained hostile until this year, when a peace treaty between both nations was signed on 8 July 2018.