The paintings in St. George Church in Addis Ababa as a method of conveying information about history and power in 20th-century Ethiopia


  • Hanna Rubinkowska-Anioł University of Warsaw


Ethiopia, visual representation, St. George Church, Haile Sellasie I, Italo-Ethiopian War


In one of the most important churches in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), there is a panel containing several paintings. They are exact copies of photographs showing Emperor Haile Sellasie I during the war against Italy (1935-1941). The paintings were copied from frequently published, and thus wellknown, photographs, which served imperial propaganda to show the Emperor’s role in fighting for Ethiopia’s independence. Using the paintings as source material, it is the aim of this article to discuss specific propagandistic methods applied in Ethiopia under Haile Sellasie to transmit a message about power and history, and to present the intended image of the Emperor to his subjects.


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Visual materials:

“Ethiopie: Couronnement de la reine 11 février 1917” [Albert Kahn Archive in Boulogne/Billancourt, France]

Haile Sellassie’s Coronation, 1930, Movietones, available at [accessed on 25 July 2014]

British Pathé Chronicle from 1941 (“Haile Selassie enters Abyssinia”) available at [1 August 2014]




How to Cite

Rubinkowska-Anioł, H. (2015). The paintings in St. George Church in Addis Ababa as a method of conveying information about history and power in 20th-century Ethiopia. Studies in African Languages and Cultures, (49), 115–141. Retrieved from




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