ACRYLIC ON CARDBOARD: Amen / 2019 / 29 x 21cm/ MATERIAL: acrylic, cardboard
This artwork focuses on public memories with nostalgic values in the Ethiopian imagination and cultural identity over the last forty years. The visual depicts how contrasting ideologies of the country’s past and present regimes have existed particularly on public spaces in Addis Ababa since 1980s. The fall of military leadership known as Derg in 1991 marked another major shift in the Ethiopia’s public culture and generation’s collective identity make-up after 1974 which a left-wing ethnocentric government forcefully replace, and erase memories embodied in socialist-oriented billboards, monuments, signs, symbols, and other related historical materials. The work scrutinizes those paradoxical historical realities in Ethiopia’s cultural life, particularly concerning the use of public spaces overtime and practices of everyday life.