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Laminated giclee print on aluminium composite, screen printed with glitter.

100 x 100 cm. 

Edition of 2814.


New as issued in the original packaging.


A composition that is infused with an exhilarating sense of speed and movement, ‘Taytu Betul’ is named after the fierce empress of Ethiopia. Upon her marriage to Emperor Menelik, in 1889 Taytu Betul (c. 1851-1918) became empress of Ethiopia. She was anything but a passive ruler, unequivocally resistant to imperialism and staunchly opposed to any negotiations that would result in a loss of Ethiopian territory. During her reign, Taytu Betul also founded Addis Ababa, which remains Ethiopia’s capital city today.


‘Taytu Betul’ immediately draws the eye to the red and black pairs of wings that form the basis of the composition: the spiral. It begins at the centre of the work and moves outward, apparently past the picture plane. The momentum that develops as this composition progresses echoes the passion and physical dedication of Taytu Betul who was at the head of her army as they went to war to defend their borders. These wings are complimented by additional arrangements of variously sized, coloured and patterned wings, which form a sort of secondary backdrop to the central action of the work.


‘Taytu Betul’ stands out from the series for its vigorous attempt to capture the butterflies in their true living form. With the composition resembling an aerial view, the print allows viewers to look downward as the momentum of this pack of butterflies is captured in the spiral and dynamic development of the composition.


Damien Hirst (born 1965) rose to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s with his striking works of art. He was a key member of the Young British Artists, won the Turner Prize in 1995 and challenges perceptions and the limits of art. Hirst has also challenged the art market; in 2008 he held an auction with Sotheby’s and sold over 200 pieces of his work direct to the public by bypassing galleries, earning £111 million. He explores themes of life, death and religion, and has created thought provoking artworks including various animals in formaldehyde and For The Love Of God, a diamond encrusted human skull with 8,601 diamonds. 

Damien Hirst Taytu Betul H10-5 from The Empresses

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