A unique feature of Ethiopian culture is its naïve style of painting that is to be found in every church and in many other locations. This style seems to have remained almost unchanged for centuries.
Figures are drawn in two dimensions, almost cartoon-like in their direct and simplistic portrayal, with strong colours and clear lines. The almond-shaped eyes are a particularly appealing characteristic.
Church painting in Ethiopia serves a very real purpose, with all the biblical and more localised religious stories being portrayed clearly and simply to inform uneducated people of their traditions and their heritage. European medieval imagery is a clear comparison here.
One modern name is clearly prominent in the world of Ethiopian painting today. Afework Tekle has an international reputation as an artist of immense standing. His works, though clearly based in an Ethiopian tradition, have a new and creative dynamism that is immediately of universal appeal. His vibrant paintings, many of them on very large canvases, are to be seen throughout Ethiopia in museums and galleries as well as on postage stamps and postcards