The Italian Occupation of Ethiopia

Qes Adamu Tesfaw (Ethiopian, b. 1933)
paint on canvas
Work : 33 1/16 x 67 1/8 in. (83.98 cm x 1.7 m)
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Gift of Neal and Elizabeth Sobania
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The Second Italo-Ethiopian War began in October, 1935 with a massive military invasion launched from Italy’s adjacent colonial territories in Eritrea and Somalia. The Italian army used tanks, planes and other modern weapons (including chemical weapons) to vanquish the ill-equipped and under-trained forces of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I. Haile Selassie appealed to the League of Nations for help, but no Western powers stood up to fight against the Italian aggressors. In 1936, Haile Selassie took the Ethiopian government into exile in Great Britain and Italy completed its occupation of Ethiopia. Italy maintained control of Ethiopia until 1941, when the country was re-taken by a combination of British and Ethiopian forces. Qes Adamu Tesfaw was only a child during the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, but he still remembers the fighting and suffering of that period, which he has portrayed here graphically in a sequence of horizontal images.

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