Skunder Boghossian, the Ethiopian Armenian who built a bridge between Africa and the West through art


Human civilization was born in Africa (from the Africa theory). The first traces of human history come from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. After colonialism across Africa, African culture was opened to the modern world with the exception of a few nations, including Ethiopia.

At a time when African culture was relatively new to the West, many people in Europe and North America did not understand the origins, the various ethnic groups, or the history of Africa. There was a man who helped bridge that gap through art and his name was Skunder Boghossian.

Skunder Boghossian, one of the most famous African artists who influenced the West, was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1937 to an Armenian father named Kosrof Gregorios Boghossian and an Ethiopian mother of Amhara origin named Tsedale Wolde Tekle.

Skunder’s father Col. Kosrof Boghossian, an officer in the Imperial Guard, trains the emperor’s horse in the
1950s. P / C unknown.

His grandfather Gregorios Boghossian was an Armenian trader who served as a traveling business ambassador in Europe to Emperor Menelik II.

Skunder won the 2nd prize during the anniversary year of the coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie at the age of 17 and received a scholarship in 1955. He studied and taught at several European and American universities throughout his life.

Skunder Boghossian was the first contemporary Ethiopian artist whose works were purchased by both the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris (1963) and the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1965). Various private collectors, museums and world governments often invited him to exhibit or even source his works in art galleries around the world.

For example, the National Museum of African Art in Washington owns several of his paintings. Skunder died naturally on May 18, 2003. The world famous New York Times reported his death as follows: “Skunder Boghossian, artist who bridged Africa and the West, died on May 4th at Howard University Hospital in Washington DC at the age of 65.”


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