The Artwork Faces Criticism as AU Unveiled Statue of Emperor Haile Selassie


Many were expressing their happiness for the well deserving recognition as Haile Selassie is one of the founding father of AU.

However, the public seems to have mixed feelings towards the statue, social media was awash with criticism of the artwork depicting Haile Selassie.

He deserved a much better quality statue that fits his caliber and this one isn’t! I am not sure who did the sculpture artwork, Ethiopian twitter user wrote yesterday.

Emperor Haile Selassie was finally duly recognized for his contribution to African unity with a statue unveiled today, another Facebook User wrote in his account.

But is bronze supposed to look like that? Any artists here? Please help me understand the artistic side of the esthetics. For me, Kwame Nkrumah’s statue, erected years ago, is much more appealing, he added.

Cast in bronze, the 3-meter statue shows the Emperor making his signature hand sign with the thumb and index finger in a triangular shape. Created by three Ethiopian artists, Bekele Mekonnen, Mesfin Tesfaye and Henock Azene under the auspicious of the Addis Ababa University’s Alle School of Fine Arts and Design, the statue recognises “the Emperor’s contribution to Africa’s liberation and unity leading up to the founding of the Organization of African Unity in 1963”, the African Union said in a press release. The Emperor is also credited for bringing Ethiopia into the League of Nations and the United Nations and making Addis Ababa the major for the African Union.

The unveiling ceremony of the statute was attended by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo and Rwandan president Paul Kagame.

Prince Beedemariam Makonnen, a grandson of Haile Selassie, told Anadolu Agency that the royal family is filled with joy and many of its members living abroad have come to be part of the grand occasion.

“It is really beyond words, we are mightily happy,” he said. “In our view, the monument represents the fact that Emperor Haile Selassie was a cornerstone of the Organization of African Unity, which has now morphed into the AU.

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