The noted historian Prof. Bahru Zewde has quipped in his ‘Pioneers of Change in Ethiopia’ that, “There are few people as obsessed with history as Ethiopians.” Certainly, if the number of books run through is any guide to gauging the interest and taste of the readership here, works dealing with various aspects of the county’s past are the ones that top the list.
Prof. Mesfin Woldemariam’s recent Amharic book, a slim volume entitled, ‘Mekshef Ende-Ethiopia Tarik’ (which literally means “ missing the mark, à la Ethiopian history”) has definitely proved controversial and provocative, achieving the distinction of being the most reviewed book in recent memory. It is not strictly a work of history but rather a second order study taking issues with certain established approaches to Ethiopian history writing. It is also a jeremiad on the many failures and disappointments characterizing the history of the fair nation he loves and has been serving for many years now. Read more…
Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED), a nonprofit organization based in the United States, conferred membership honor for four Ethiopians and a late American congressman for their outstanding contributions in their respective fields. On its 21st annual Award night SEED honored Ras Mengesha Seyoum, Habte-Sellassie Tafesse, Mekdes Zelelew, Prof. Sosina Haile, and the late Congressman Donald Payne as “Honored Members” at an event in Washington D.C. on May 26.
SEED Secretary, Aklilu Demessie told Voice of America Amharic that the personalities were selected for their inspiring academic, social, cultural and scientific success, and they have done so while remaining true to their roots. “We wanted to recognize their steadfast commitment to the pursuit of excellence and to publicly acknowledge their achievements,” Aklilu told VOA. Read more…
Raised in Canada, now living and working in Addis, Aida Muluneh is an artist of humane sensibilities, as her recent photographic work illustrates. With a background in film and photography, Aida has been focusing on photography for the past ten years and her images have appeared in numerous exhibitions in Cuba, Canada, England, Germany, Israel, Spain and Mali. A book of her work, called “Ethiopia: Past/Forward,” was published in September 2009 in Belgium.
Aida seems to be drawn to a sense of place and timelessness, known and familiar, self and other. Most of her images are black and white, which are inspired from her way of looking at the world in black and white. “Truth is either black or white. Human elements are exhibited though it. Black and white is the foundation. Color is tricky. But whatever I use, my focus is capturing light,” she says. Her shots depict the lives of regular folk: a girl on a horse, a woman at the doorway, women holding hands with their faces obscured, a pretty veiled girl looking at us with Bob Marley poster behind her. The photos capture the raw human emotions of mourning, anger, contentment and they come out as a touching story of girls and women becoming visible and discovering their self-acceptance. Read more…
A large collection of drawings and paintings by the artist Dereje Demissie will be on show in Addis Ababa this Saturday at LeLa Art gallery. The exhibition titled “Cycle” runs from 8 June, 3pm onwards until 23 June.
Graduated from the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts, and exhibited in leading galleries in Ethiopia, Sudan, Dubai, Germany and Uganda, Dereje began to make an impact with his portraits and landscapes, rendered with high-keyed flickering colors.
LeLa Gallery art curator Leo Lefort said Dereje’s ‘Cycle’ exhibition offers an eloquent testimony of the need to develop the art of ‘seeing’ in depth the invisible realm. He said by emphasizing the expressive potential of natural formal elements, Dereje built a fine bridge between naturalistic painting and abstraction. The exhibition looks as if “ the observation of nature -mainly occurring in the South of Ethiopia, where Dereje often travels- led him to abandon all basic principles of reproduction, learnt with influential teacher Getahun Assefa, painting only with pictorial elements, not for the purpose of figuration but with the aim of a quasi mystical revelation,” said Leo.
The European Union Film Festival, a festival that presents films about contemporary European life and culture, will start tomorrow in Addis Ababa.
Running through June 17, this year’s edition will feature 17 European films including the Intouchables, France’s biggest international hit ever, a story about a disabled aristocratic millionaire and a good-humored black guy whom he hires as his aide.
The festival always opens with a film from the country currently designated for the presidency of the Council of European Union. This year it is Ireland, so “Stella Days”, starring Martin Sheen in a critically acclaimed performance as an embattled Catholic priest who tries to introduce the movies to his conservative rural flock, screens at 6.30 p.m. Monday at Alliance Ethio-Française.
The polish film, Mill and the Cross, about 16th-century Flanders and those of the canvases of its great painter, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, will be shown at Goethe Institute on Tuesday 6.30 p.m.
Wendy Laura Belcher, an assistant professor of comparative literature and African American studies at Princeton University, specializes in medieval, early modern and modern African literature. One of her key interests is in how African thought circulated in Europe before the 19th century, which she explores in her latest book by focusing on the influence of Ethiopian thought on the work of the English author Samuel Johnson, according to an article published on the University’s website on August 2, 2012. In 2011, Belcher spent a year in Ethiopia on a Fulbright fellowship researching ancient manuscripts illuminating the lives of women now regarded as saints in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which dates back to the fourth century. She also took the opportunity to photograph a range of scenes and subjects during her visit. Stories from Ethiopia and the African continent have resonated with Belcher since childhood, when she lived in Ethiopia and Ghana. Her first book, “Honey from the Lion: An African Journey,” is an autobiographical account of her time in Ghana.
Get the whole story here.
Award-wining photographer Aida Muluneh will present “So Long Letter”, her second solo show on May 31st, 2013 at Addis Ababa’s TO.MO.CA gallery. The exhibition is a dedication to women in Ethiopia and is inspired by one of her favorite books “So Long a Letter” by Senegalese writer Mariama Bâ, she announced on her Facebook page.
Aida first exhibited at Asni Gallery in 2012 that showcased her photographs combined with drawings.Throughout her work, the artist tackles the issue of identity, memory, dislocation, the self and “otherness”, that remains open to the spectator’s imagination.
Aida was born in Addis Ababa in 1974. She later attended high school in Canada where she studied photography. She graduated in film from Howard University, Washington D.C. in 2001. Aida is the recipient of the 2007 European Union Prize of the Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie, in Bamako, Mali and winner of the 2010 CRAF International Award of Photography in Spilimbergo, Italy.
Aida’s works are found in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of Biblical Art, New York. She has exhibited her works in Belgium, Canada, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mali, the Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, South Africa, the UAE and USA.
Opening day. May 31st, 2013 at 6:00pm, Galleria TO.MO.CA which is located in front of Canadian Embassy in Sar Bet, For more information, call at +251 933527134.