Five young Ethiopian Photographers Respond to the theme of Distance

Words by Carla Ingrasciotta
November 25, 2016

Conceived and curated by Marco Milan, “Distance” is a new project by Tales-on, an artistic platform supported by Caffè Bristrot. The project aims to establish a connection with active, contemporary artists in the countries where Caffè Bristrot is produced. Five young Ethiopian photographers – Haymanot Honelegn Assefa (1993), Hilina Mekonen Tesfaw (1988), Mahader Haileselassie Tadese (1990), Netsanet Fekadu (1988) and  Luna Solomon (1993) – were asked to join an exhibition on the theme of distance and tell the story of their native land through their lenses.

In partnership with Addis Foto Fest – the first international photography festival to be held in Ethiopia founded by internationally famous Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh, – the exhibition will take place both in Addis Ababa (Addis Foto Fest, from December 15th to 20th 2016) and in Venice (Scoletta Battioro, campo San Stae, from December 15th  2016 to January 8th 2017).

We’ve asked the curator, Marco Milan, to tell us more about the exhibition.

Carla Ingrasciotta: Let’s start with the concept and the development of the project that will be exhibited. Could you tell us about your collaboration with Aida Muluneh and the parallel exhibition in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia?

Marco Milan: Tales-on was founded as a non-profit cultural survey platform in the territories of the South of the world and linked to the cultivation of coffee thanks to the inspiration of Bristot trademark of Belluno. It seemed natural for us natural to go to Ethiopia to act upon a project that deals with photography engaged in contemporary society. After an extensive research we have developed a collaboration with Aida Muluneh, founder of Addis Photo Fest: we were interested in working on a project on the territory engaged to the social reality. This is how the idea of ​​two concurrent exhibitions was born, creating a dialogue between two shows: one in Venice and one in Addis, for which we have involved five female photographers in order to focus on the specific female point of view.

C.I.: How was it like the collaboration with these 5 young Ethiopians photographers? How did you get in touch?

M.M.: The collaboration was interesting, challenging. The selection was made with the support of Aida Muluneh. We asked each of them to work on a project of 30 images designed specifically for video support and therefore to develop a well-defined sequence. The theme we have proposed is the distance and we realized immediately how much affinity of ideas and expectations there was between their and our day.

C.I.: How does the theme of the distance develops in the photographic work of each artist? Is there a common understanding between their personal languages?

M.M.: The developments are many. The theme is deliberately very broad and allows many interpretations. Some of the photographers develop intimate visions that look more to the relationship between inside and outside of the human being while others reflect upon time and space as part of daily life and as factors of the relationship between generations. If we want to find a common element, perhaps it is the concept of time to which all refer more or less, even if by giving very different interpretations.

C.I.:. The initiative Tales-on, with the support of Café Bistrot, promotes and encourages a dialogue between artistic, social and anthropological cultures, through various exhibitions like this. Any new project you are working on for the future?

M.M.: The aim of our initiative is to become a permanent platform for research and cultural production, providing online contents on site. Every year we will reach a new territory, a new theme and new collaborations, hoping to generate a permanent archive of voices and witnesses. After the project in Colombia with the theme “error”, we are now in Ethiopia with the theme of the distance, and the program plans to move to Asia in 2017, starting a journey across continents.

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