This painting began with a map of Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, which Mehretu fused with maps of other African economic and political capitals, creating a vast network of aerial views of the continent. In subsequent layers she included drawings of both colonialist architecture in Africa and iconic modernist buildings erected there during and after liberation. In the center of the painting Mehretu layered drawings of the many African plazas of independence with idiosyncratic markings she has called “characters.” Here, these characters stage battles, migrate, form alliances, congregate, and ultimately participate in a system of entropy.

Short Title
Transcending: The New International, 2003
Transcending:  The New International, 2003

Ink and acrylic on canvas
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, T. B. Walker
Acquisition Fund, 2003
© Julie Mehretu, photo: Walker Art Center

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