Ethiopian Aloe paintings feature at London expo

Aloe schelpei which grows on cliff edges. Copyright Sarah Howard
Aloe schelpei which grows on cliff edges. Copyright Sarah Howard

Ethiopian flower paintings are to be part of the Royal Horticultural Society botanical art exhibition in London on 26-27 February. Artist Sarah Howard is exhibiting a set of drawings of Aloes from Ethiopia, endemic to the Horn of Africa, as part of this international-standard exhibition.

Sarah says: “I’ve long wanted to show what’s lovely from that part of the world, in the hope these pictures might inspire others to take an interest in Ethiopian flora – if not to paint them.” She encourages all Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia to have a look. She has also taught botanical illustration classes.

“I spent two periods of a month each in the field driving huge distances, climbing mountains; enjoying the company of local farmers, priests and hotel staff where I set up makeshift studios. Almost everyone volunteered the information that these plants were used in some way for medicine, including in cancer and HIV/AIDS treatments. But few had any idea of the different species that could be found, and this also applied to expatriates.

“All Aloes are on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of threatened species, two of mine are classified as endangered. Agencies are only beginning to find commercial uses for them which might help to preserve both the plant and the habitat in which they live. In the absence of many field guides, part of my hope also is to dispel ignorance about Ethiopia’s lovely, and often unique, flora.”

Entry to the exhibition costs £6 to non-members of the RHS for either Friday or Saturday (10am-5pm) and you can book tickets here on the RHS website

If you want to learn more about Sarah and her art, contact sarahhowardpainting [at] icloud [dot] com.

If yo have any events that you think students of Amharic in London and other supporters of our Amharic evening classes would be interested in, please let us know.

The artist studying aloes amid the Meskel daisies. Copyright Sarah Howard