Catherine Chambers is a London based artist with strong ties to Ethiopia. Her work is inspired by the environment around her, interpreting the nature of our being, our connection with our ancestry and our attitudes to others familiar and unfamiliar.


She embraces subjects that are common to people the world over including self-awareness, identity, aspiration, family ties, social status, security and faith. Her artwork is built on close contact and sympathy with her subjects and also echoes her own experiences. Consequently, a painting set in Ethiopia is also a reflection on conditions she believes to be universal. 


Catherine works in two distinct styles; figurative oil paintings, and her ongoing acrylic icon series. 

The oil paintings are usually portraits of dear friends of the artist; people she admires and pays them respect in the time she gives to their portrait. The items Catherine includes in these portraits take on the traditional role of placing the subject in a time and place, however, due to their location, her paintings challenge people’s expectations of the place with an assumed picture they already have in their heads.


The icon series is complementary to the portraiture. The triptych format enables a story telling approach giving voice to anecdotes told by her sitters and developing her own experiences and observations. Catherine’s appreciation of the works of William Hogarth is reflected in this series. Just as Hogarth’s scenes initially appear remote being set in the past, Ethiopian images set in unfamiliar locations may appear substantially different from the viewers own experience. Catherine believes that what past and present, here and there, them and us, have in common is universal. The more one knows and understands the circumstances of others, apparent and superficial differences fade away. 


Both ways of working have a playful nature, their details tease the audience with hints into the lives of the subjects and their connection to the artist. Often works involve the interaction of visiting Europeans with Ethiopian individuals and communities. The interpretation her audience puts on her work is important to Catherine. Responses to her work are diverse but never absent often expressing strong judgement of the supposed. content, and often search for a victim and/or hero. 


Catherine is an avid observer who shares her work to stimulate discussion rather than to deliver conclusions. Her works are a record of her own development and understanding.

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2012   2:1 (BA) Hons Drawing and Applied Arts, University of the West of England

2008  BTEC Diploma Art and Design, Amersham College

Solo Exhibitions 

2019  I Appreciate You, The Embassy of Ethiopia, London

2016  A Brother’s Progress, Freespace Gallery, Kentish Town, London

2016  Red Lodge Chair, Red Lodge Museum, Park Row, Bristol

2016  Possession(s), The Tobacco Factory, Bristol

2014  Trove, The Edwardian Cloakrooms, Bristol


Selected Group Exhibitions

2018  CCTT, Whitefriars Gallery, Harrow, London

2018  Summer Show, Royal Academy of Arts, London

2015  2nd Annual, The Royal West of England Academy, Bristol         

2014  Reflect, The Edwardian Cloakrooms, Bristol                             

2013  Bristol Arts Prize, Bristol Guildhall Arts Centre, Bristol                         

2013  Before I Die, National Museum, Cardiff                                          

2013  Dead and Buried, Centrespace Gallery, Bristol                                       



2016  3 month Artist Residency, Freespace Project. Kentish Town, London



2018  Curator for “Peace” exhibition at the Italian Cultural Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

Selected Publications


2019  “Artist Catherine Chambers Documents her Relationship with Lalibela”

2018  “Where I Am Now” - Anglo-Ethiopian News File – Issue: Summer 2018