FAIRFIELD HOUSE MUSEUM
We have an exciting museum in development at Fairfield House relating to His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, his time in Britain and Ethiopia. We are working with our first partner Bath Spa University to ensure Fairfield House museum will be adhering to professional museum standards and hope for it to be a fitting tribute outside of Ethiopia to the remarkable story of the Emperor and his time in the UK.
The museum will provide a fantastic opportunity for local, national and international visitors to Fairfield House to immerse themselves in an educational experience relating not only to those difficult days of exile for the Ethiopian royal family and government in exile, but also to the days of triumphant return as the Emperor returned a celebrated visitor to Britain in 1954 and again took rest at Fairfield. A majestic, unique and enriching narrative in the already historic City of Bath.
The aim of the Museum collection is “to gather, conserve and present items that belonged to His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I during his time in Bath, which explain his historical, international significance and personal dimensions and which enhance the special sense of place by being objects which bring to life Fairfield House".
Over the years, many historic items have been bequeathed or loaned to Fairfield House for this purpose and action is now underway to ensure these are properly presented, registered and further cared for so they will be available to inspire and educate many generations to come.
If visiting Fairfield House on one of our public open days, we currently have a temporary small collection of items on display in the museum area, including a portrait the Emperor posed for painted during exile ( pictured above), Medals and Orders of H.I.M, Ethiopian traditional artwork depicting the blessed union of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and a few more intriguing items already on display.
The Tafari Gallery
“A purely materialistic art would be like a tree which is expected to bear fruit without flowering, and to sacrifice grace and beauty for mere utility. Those who learn here should, from the beginning, sedulously avoid this spirit of utilitarianism. Our admiration for the Creator’s handiwork should not be limited to those things which He has provided us with for our daily needs, but should include all that is good and beautiful. It is these tender feelings of deep and silent admiration evoked from our hearts by the beauties of creation that should find adequate expression in the fine arts.”
Emperor Haile Selassie I - Opening the School of Fine Arts, Ethiopia, July 23, 1958
The Tafari Gallery is our contemporary exhibition space at Fairfield House. It is the perfect location to showcase all mediums of the visual arts, something that was greatly appreciated and fostered by His Imperial Majesty.
We exhibit both established and upcoming artists. Our main criteria for working with and exhibiting artists is the work and ethos has to be sympathetic to the values of Fairfield House. Both the art and artefact collections began with the aim of acquiring, and featuring works, with a significance and importance to the African diaspora. As our roster is continually expanding, we actively look to showcase works which complement our existing collection.
Our exhibitions attract new visitors and art lovers, as well as being appreciated by our regular visitors and all in the Fairfield House community.
Opening events of exhibitions are always previews with the members of BEMSCA. As the primary stakeholders of Fairfield House in accordance with the wishes of His Majesty and the Deed of Gift, the elders are given respect by being the first to be given a tour of the new art works in the House.
We encourage our exhibiting artists to engage with our residents and visitors, and we host arts workshops and events for young people and the local community.
Previous exhibitions and events
2012 – Lion tree – sculpture, by Dominic
2013 – Art in His Majesty’s House - paintings, by Clifton Powell
2013 – House of His Majesty exhibition – history display panels, with Bath Spa History department and Bath Central Library
2014 – Majesty and the Movement – Rastafari In Motion. With Guildhall, Bath and North East Somerset Council
2015 – Atlantic Memories: Reminiscing personal Black histories in Photography and Objects – by Shawn Naphtali, Lisa Reid and Pauline Swaby. With Bath Central Library and Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens Association (BEMSCA)
2015 – present – Newbridge Arts Trail - by various artists. (2020 and 2021 paused due to Covid19)
2015 – My Ethiopia – photography, by Addishiwot Asfawosen
2016 – JAH Golden Pen - Illustration and painting – by Ras Jata
2016 – Sankofa - painting, sculpture, mixed media – by Kulchalee
2016 – Cheeeeese Onnnnn Breeaadd! – Bajan sayings posters – by Shawn Naphtali, with Bath Central Library
2016 – Feed The Lion! - Fairfield House fundraising box – by Mahalia Sobers
2017 – Standing in the Footsteps - poetry residency by Talking Tekla the Narrata and Fellow Dread
2017 – Media in Ethiopia - sculpture, by Peter Kellett
2017 – I Am Melanin - photography, illustration and graphic design – by Stacey Olika
2018 – Emperor Haile Selassie and Empress Menen Asfaw - life-size models – by Jez Bunny King. (procurement with Isle of Wight council)
2019 – Black Artists on the Move – art, film and performance, by Fofoo Attiso, Cleo Lake, Judith Davis, Akulah Agbami, Akeim Toussaint Buck and Cameron Fisher. With Black Artists on the Move and by Globalex.
2019 – African Queens – fashion and photography, curated by Christelle Pellecuer.
2019 – Ethiopian Memories – illustrations, by Rediat Abayneh
2021 – Global Rastafari HeART – Rastafari inspired works from 30 artists from around the world, including David ‘I’ Williams, Ras Elijah Tafari, Colin Edward Murray, Abba Yahuda Selassie, Christian Beijer and Darren Smith.
For further information about exhibiting in the Tafari Gallery, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note - As a small gallery not all of our exhibitions are funded, and we do encourage artists to contribute towards their expenses for exhibiting their work.