Woman in Orange Cloth

Etiyé Dimma Poulsen, Ethiopian, born 1968


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Ceramic, mixed media

Overall: 21 1/4 × 3 15/16 × 3 7/16 in. (54 × 10 × 8.8 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Charles J. and Opel Zimmerman 1923 Fund

© Etiyé Dimma Poulsen



Place Made: Ethiopia, Eastern Africa, Africa


21st century

Object Name


Research Area



On view


Initialled (?), incised in piece, rear bottom edge: D/S


Etiyé Poulsen uses metal wire and fired clay to create surreal, yet graceful, human forms. Her subjects are everyday people whom she creates from memory. She makes the armature using bendable wires, which she shapes into various elongated forms. Poulsen then adds clay to the form before firing. The firing process gives this work its defining cracks and fiery red color, and also an appearance of fragility. While firing is destructive, the artist refers to it as an important creative element that infuses life into her sculpture. It is with fire that her work becomes complete. Born in Ethiopia, Poulsen was raised first in Tanzania, and then Denmark, by her adoptive Danish parents upon the death of her Ethiopian mother. A self-taught painter, she now uses ceramics as her primary medium.

From the 2019 exhibition Global Contemporary: A Focus on Africa, curated by Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Curator of African Art


A small woman stands upright, gazing out through pinched eyes and pursed lips. She surveys her surroundings with a look of seeming indifference. Each of Poulsen’s sculptures has its own personality, captured by slight variations in their anatomy and coloration. This sculpture seems to embody some of the ambivalences of womanhood. Though she stands rigid and straight, cracks from the firing process stand out glaringly, creating dark scars on her bright skirt and indicating some vulnerability. Many of her bodily characteristics are not specifically defined and evoke traditional African female figures, yet at the same time she occupies her own world.  - Lydia Davis ’23, Homma Family Intern

From the 2023 exhibition Homecoming: Domesticity and Kinship in Global African Art, curated by Alexandra Thomas, Curatorial Research Associate

Exhibition History

Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body, William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Jaffe Hall Galleries, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 1-August 10, 2008; Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, September 10-December 10, 2008; San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California, January 21-April 26, 2009.

Etiye Dimma Poulsen: Working Around Archetpes - New Sculptures, Skoto Gallery, New York, March 9-April 15, 2006.

Global Contemporary: A Focus on Africa; Dorothy and Churchill Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26-December 8, 2019.

Homecoming: Domesticity and Kinship in Global African Art, Harteveldt Family Gallery, Owen Robertson Cheatham Gallery, and Northeast Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 22, 2023–May 25, 2024.

Modern and Contemporary Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, September 26,2009-March 15, 2010.

Publication History

Barbara Thompson, Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body, Seattle: University of Washington Press [Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College], 2008, p. 319, plate 102.


The artist; Skoto Gallery, New York, New York; March 2006; sold to present collection, April 2006.

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