Abebe Zelelew was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1964. He studied graphic arts at the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts in order to channel and give structure to his childhood passion for all the arts. Upon graduation from university in 1985, he began a serious exploration to find the correct medium to give voice to his personal mission to capture the emotions and endeavors of people in his native country, Ethiopia. Beginning first with canvas and goatskin as substrates for his vision, he moved into using wood, which has a long tradition in African art. He carved his images into hardwood panels and then prepared the surface to accept acrylic paints.
Abebe has held solo and group exhibitions in Ethiopia, China, Djibouti, France, Greece, California, Texas and Washington, DC. His works hang in several private collections around the world as well as at the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa and Chateau de la Court d'Aron Saint-Cyr en Talmondais ( france ). In 1996, some of his works selected to represent Ethiopian art in the "Aethiopia" exhibit that travelled across Europe.
He now lives in Dallas TX.