ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia 

Walls, domes and the exteriors of the magnificent Medhane Alem Cathedral in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa are embellished with colorful portraits and life-size paintings of saints of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

The saints, depicted with an exaggerated size of eyes, solemnly gaze at visitors and worshippers who congregate throughout the week.

Bekele Mekonen, an academic at Addis Ababa University’s Alle School of Fine Arts and Design, says religious paintings which began with Christianization of Ethiopia in the 4th century uniformly adopted a style of depicting the eyes of their subjects bigger than their normal size to

Read more: Ethiopia: Contemporary painting, sculpture in dire straits