The Art Museum of West Virginia University and The Friends of the Museum announce the second “Art Up Close!” event, focusing on individual works of art from the museum collection. The Nov. 3 presentation will feature an Ethiopian painting depicting Christian rituals.

Titled “Timqat: Art and the Ethiopian Christian Church,” the lecture will be presented by Jane Donovan of the Department of Philosophy, Humanities and Religious Studies in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Donovan has authored seven books and numerous articles on American religious history, and is an expert in contemporary issues facing traditional religions.

The “Art Up Close!” presentations are held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Museum Education Center (formerly the Erickson Alumni Center) adjacent to the WVU Creative Arts Center. All the events are free and open to the public.

Last year, Donovan began a research project involving two Ethiopian paintings in the WVU Art Collection, and the lecture will give insight into her ongoing scholarly research with these works of art.

“The Ethiopian paintings in the WVU Art Collection are gems, and they offer a unique window into Ethiopian Christianity in the mid-20th century,” Donovan said.

“I will talk about two paintings done by Jembere Hailu, who was perhaps the most significant Ethiopian artist of the 20th century. Hailu was the last official artist of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and his death ended an unbroken line of church artists extending back to the fourth century.

“The paintings represent two days of the three-day celebration of Timqat, which is the Ethiopian equivalent of Epiphany, celebrated 12 days after Christmas in the western church. These paintings were donated to WVU by Ambassador William Leonhart, a Parkersburg native and WVU alumnus who was the first U.S. ambassador to the nation of Tanzania, which was created in 1962.”

Audience members will have the opportunity to view the actual painting and participate in a question and answer session following the lecture.

Each “Art Up Close!” presentation features an original work of art and commentary by WVU faculty, followed by a question and answer session and light refreshments.

This series of lectures is designed to give an in-depth look at a single work of art selected from the WVU Art Collection.

For more information, contact the Art Museum of WVU at (304) 293-2141 or see the website at:


CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts

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