Tesfaye Shibeshi



My name is Tesfaye and I’m originally from Ethiopia. I was 19 years-old when I came to the USA.

My artwork is based on the carvings and design on the interior of the famous Laibela Christian Church. This is a very important building to me because of my religion. This is where many tourists like to go when they visit Ethiopia.

Though I knew the building was very old, it wasn’t until I came to the USA and started researching this project when I found out that it was built a very long time ago: 800-900 years ago. This building was etched out of the stone with a technique called rock-hewn architecture.

From the region where I lived, it would have taken 10 hours by car to get there. Though I have never visited this place, I would really like to go there someday. It’s not only an important part of Ethiopia’s history and culture but also it’s very important to me as a Christian.

In my painting, you can see some of the same designs that are inside the Laibela Church. The teacher who helped me write this also asked how I knew these designs without seeing the Laibela Church in person but I didn’t know.