Aleqa Mezmur Za Dawit 74 Comments

Or My great grandmother's older brother, he was a talented 19th /20th century painter sculpture and illustrator. I’m pretty sure most of you haven’t heard of him but I’m sure some of you have seen his work. He specialized in the church paintings and sculptures. Among the ones he worked on, is Kidist Mariam Bete Christian in Sidist Kilo, Enda Selassie Bete Christian in Asmara, Yohannes Bete Christian, Kechene Mediyanlem Bete Christian, Gishen Mariam Bete Christian in Shoa, Holy Trinity in Addis Ababa and etc; too many to list. And internationally he did the Ethiopian Orthodox church in Jerusalem, Israel. He did mostly murals in the churches and some are 3 dimensional sculpture murals.

He also produced portraits of Emperor Menelik, Empress Taytu and Empress Zawditu for the Menelik Mausoleum in Addis Ababa, and a painting of the coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie and Empress Menen in 1930 for the Ethiopian Parliament building.”

When my grandfather doing his Kedase, he used to point out the illustrations in the book to me by saynng, "Aleqa Mezmur did this too.” Besides the churches and illustrations and sculptures; he also did designs for Medals and Bank Notes and Stamps. His son Tesfaye Mezmur is also a painter alive and doing well in Ethiopia, he has done several international exhibitions. He is also one of the first Ethiopian to be sent to Europe (Germany) to study art. I believe in the late fifties or early sixties with GKristos Desta. I couldnt find any images online. Which is a shamefull that our Ethiopians Artists work from that era and earlier is not documented. Pankrust wrote some. If you have been to any churches remember that probably have seen Aleqa Mezmur Dawit’s Art-work. Painting in the church of Arba’ite Insesa

74 Responses to “Aleqa Mezmur Za Dawit”


  1. 1 Tiqur_Anbessa

    There are some paintings in Jerusalem that were made by him! One is in the Church of Arba’ite Insesa (http://www.tewahedo.ch/images/icon4animalsk.jpg) and I guess that he could have also been the artist of the painting at the house of the Ethiopian Bishop (http://www.tewahedo.ch/images/bishopshouse2k.jpg)… Maybe you’ll find some more pics if you search for the paintings in the Debre Seltan (Deir Sultan) or Kidane Mihiret Monastery via Google or smt.
    Keep up the family heritage man! :D

  2. 2 Ethio Jazz

    Extremely educational. Thanks for a wonderful insight into your family history. I must say, I’ve never heard of the Aleqa before and I’m eager to see some of his paintings.

  3. 3 nolawi

    thanks tiqur i’ve inserted the picture….

  4. 4 mebrahtu mezgebe

    Amlkak ymesgena ane kab asmera eya ztshfelkuom zelku emo kemeya aleku slam

  5. 5 mesgana

    Thank you so much for sharing thing wonderful story of Aleqa Mezmur za Dawit, indeed a great illustrator, painter, writer and historian.

    we should really look into our past.

  6. 6 dawit

    I would like to thank you for your work.you presented not only alequa’s history,but it is ethiopian history too.
    please go forward and share us some more!

  7. 7 yohanes

    Thank you for sharing a bit of history about your family and also a glimpse into our past. The next time I go to Ethi..I do go there often, I will make sure to stop and take a look at the paintings. Although it’s not easily found on the web for sharing, I’m sure if the opportunity presents it’s self, you can get us more snap shots to enjoy. Thanks again for sharing….I will remember the name Aleqa Mezmur.

  8. 8 Nolawi

    great great you guys thanks…

  9. 9 bgFelasfit

    I have always been curious about the style of art in the churches. this is a very nice look into the past of ethiopian art…very cool to learn about ur ancestor nolawi

    what kinda tickles my mind was more blatantly pointed out to me when an african american friend of mine saw a picture and said “why are these people white?”
    and that got me really thinking — indeed, there was a clear dichotomy: black and white…with the blackest symbolyzing the devils that mikael/giorgis were casting aside and the “TSadqan” being very pale compared to the common folk…
    But…how is it possible for there to be such a clear distinction when there has been a very long christian tradition in the region? any insights?
    (my take: This and other things have suggested to me that we have a very deep seated history of racism in the horn of africa because of the interactions between the middle east and the african interior… )

  10. 10 Mustafa Valikhanov

    Dear Nolawi!
    First of all- a lot of thanks for Your article about Aleqa Mazmur Za Dawit. I am from Jerusalem and I saw his pictures in the Holy Sepulcher and probably in the Ethiopian Patriarchy. Now I research the ethiopian presence in Jerusalem and I collect all possible information about it. So, I’ll be very glad if You know about the dates of birth and death of the painter, probably his years in Europe and where he learned there, when he was in Jerusalem, may be You have his photo or another paintings of him -I will very appreciate any materials. thank You in advance

  11. 11 Observer

    I might be wrong but during the Italian occupation your grandfather might have been the person who painted the interior and exterior beautiful icons of Kiddiste Mariam Cathedral in Asmara. Later the exterior frontal icons were replaced with mosaics. The frontal interior by the holy of holiest is still there.

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