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In order to enable Italian visual artists to develop an insight of Ethiopia from their actual observations on the ground, especially in Addis Ababa, the Italian Cultural Institute has initiated a residency program for those who are keen to do so this year.
The idea of the program is to enable an artist to observe, to explain and enter into a personal relationship and dialogue with the urban reality of Addis Ababa and provide a new image and interpretation free from stereotype.
Chosen for this program is Gea Casolaro who said, “When I first arrived in Addis, it was night time, therefore very dark. I passed through without seeing anything, but I sensed its distinct difference from a European city; even the night felt different here.”
Gea is an Italian artist who was born in Rome and came to Addis Ababa for three months to participate in the project. She has previously worked in Buenos Aires, Sarajevo and Paris. It was stated that in each of her work, she addresses universal subjects like memory and repression of past times to present a clear point of view against stereotype images and silent reality based on her own interpretation of what she observes and within the social context of her subjects.
“Somehow, I’ve found some similarities between Addis today and Sarajevo back in 1998 where I stayed for three weeks after the end of the Balkan war. Both cities seem to me like places of reconstruction, even if they are completely different in terms of their historical, geographic, political and social contexts,” she said, speaking to students back in March at the Alle School of Fine Art and Design, Addis Ababa.
The artist’s work is mainly visual, making videos and pictures but besides those media, she also uses texts to get across her ideas and opinions.
Gea’s work is to be exhibited at the Addis Ababa Contemporary Art Museum soon.