Ficre Ghebreyesus was born in Asmara, Eritrea. He left the country as a political refugee and lived in Sudan, Italy and Germany before coming to the United States, where he earned his undergraduate degree and worked as a humanitarian activist on behalf of Eritrean independence and on-going relief issues. Along with that work on behalf of his country and its people, he studied painting at the Art Students' League and printmaking at the Bob Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, both in New York City. He later studied at Yale University, where he earned his MFA in 2002 and was awarded the Carol Schlossberg Prize for Excellence in Painting at graduation.
Ghebreyesus made his life in New Haven for almost thirty years, where he lived with his wife Elizabeth Alexander and their sons Solomon and Simon. From 1992-2008, he was executive chef and co-owner with his brothers of the immensely popular Caffé Adulis that brought creative Eritrean cuisine to New Haven and New York City. In the last years of his life he dedicated his work time solely to his art. He died unexpectedly in April, 2012.