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Elias Sime. Photo by Brett Moen.

ST. LOUIS, July 23, 2020—The Saint Louis Art Museum will present new work by Ethiopian artist Elias Sime in the 118th installment of the museum’s popular “Currents” contemporary art series. The free exhibition will be on view in Galleries 249 and 250 from July 31 through Jan. 31, 2021.

Founded in 1978, the Currents series serves as a laboratory for emerging and mid-career artists to create and exhibit new work. Featured artists have included Shimon Attie, Matthew Buckingham, Dale Chihuly, Leonardo Drew, Brian Eno, Ellen Gallagher, Frank Gehry, Donald Judd, Julie Mehretu, Richard Serra and Cindy Sherman.

(To download images of art in the exhibition, click on the images at the bottom of this press release.)

Sime (born 1968) creates large-scale modular artworks from discarded technological material such as electrical wires, circuit boards, motherboards and computer keys. Sime’s use of the detritus of technological progress touches on diverse themes ranging from environmentalism and globalization to the history of modern art. Sime sources these materials in his hometown of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the Merkato, the biggest open-air market in Africa.

In 2009, Sime began an ongoing series of works called “Tightrope.” The works in this series embody both the advances made possible by the march of technological progress as well as its impact on humanity and nature as evidenced by the creation of extraordinary amounts of e-waste. “Currents 118: Elias Sime “will showcase works from the “Tightrope” series made within the last three years, as well as new work created for this exhibition.

In addition to his studio practice, Sime co-founded and helps run the Zoma Museum in Addis Ababa, which he opened in 2019 with curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued. Merging art with community engagement and sustainability, Zoma is comprised of a school, farm, library, garden, café and exhibition space. In 2019, Sime received an African Art Award from the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

“Currents 118: Elias Sime” is supported by the Dana Brown Endowed Fund for Education and Community Programs and by a grant from the Trio Foundation of St. Louis. The exhibition is curated by Hannah Klemm, associate curator of modern and contemporary art, with Molly Moog, research assistant for modern and contemporary art.

CONTACT: Matthew Hathaway, 314.655.5493,

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