Achamyeleh Debela is one of the leading contemporary Ethiopian-born artists living and working in the Diaspora. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Addis Ababa, Acha graduated from the Addis Ababa Fine Arts School where he studied under Ale Feleghe Selam, Gebre Kristos Desta, Skunder Boghossian and Hansen Bahia. He earned additional degrees at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria (BFA); Morgan State University (MA); and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MFA). He pursued doctoral studies in art education and computer graphics at Ohio State University. Presently Acha is professor of art at North Carolina Central University in Durham.
Acha is recognized internationally for his pioneering digital compositions, which he creates by manipulating images scanned from his own drawings, paintings and photographs as well as objects and designs from a variety of appropriated sources. Acha?s finished works reference Ethiopian and other African traditions and draw on his experiences as a naturalized American citizen and a participant in the international contemporary art scene.
Acha?s work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Notably, his work was included in the important exhibition Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa shown at Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; Malmö Konsthall in Sweden; and the Guggenheim (Soho) in 1995/96. He was one of ten artists included in Ethiopian Passages: Contemporary Art from the Diaspora at the National Museum of African Art in 2003. Locally, Acha had a solo exhibition at the Reitz Union Gallery organized by UF doctoral student Nicholas Frech in conjunction with the ACASA Triennial in 2007. Acha?s work is included in virtually every publication on modern and contemporary African art. He is also a prolific writer and has published numerous essays and book chapters on Ethiopian modern and contemporary art. Acha?s work is represented in the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa; the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, the James Lewis Museum at Morgan State Museum in Baltimore MD and the the Art Museum at NCCU and the Samuel P. Harns Museum of Art at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.