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Témoin/Witness is a travelling photograph exhibition from the Goethe Institute’s project titled ‘Photographer’s Portfolio Meeting’.
The photograph focuses on the African metropolis or ‘megacity’. The exhibition includes work that reflects on the immediate circumstances of this group of emerging photographers. The images deal with a wide range of important social issues that consider an inherited culture and history, as the photographers bear witness to the constant flux and changing cultures that define the ‘megacity’.
This extraordinary exhibition will be shown in Addis Ababa on the 29th of April at the Goethe Institute. It will contain a selection of works created by African photographers Calvin Dondo from Zimbabwe, Sabelo Mlangeni from South Africa, Abraham Oghobase from Nigeria and Michael Tsegaye from Ethiopia.
The works that will be presented will give an impression of how these groups of emerging photographers perform the role of onlooker and actively survey their immediate environments.
Abraham Oghobase works with self-portraiture; he is working through the experience of what it means to be an individual in Lagos, Nigeria. Oghobase’s work deals with the way people live and he opens up the debate about social and political situations in his country.
Born in 1975, Michael Tsegaye lives and works in Addis Ababa. He received his diploma in painting from Addis Ababa University’s School of Fine Arts and Design in 2002, but soon gave up painting after he developed an allergy to oil paint.
“As a photographer, I try as much as possible to escape being pigeonholed. I place myself among my peers across the world. While the spirit of my culture, its traditions in music, poetry and literature informs my photography; my goal is that of any artist: to understand my life and standpoint in the 21st century, and express these through art,” he says.
Calvin Dondo spent time living with families in Germany who adopted African children. He photographed them when they were young and new to the family and, over the past few years, has returned to the families to re-photograph them.
In one image, he has captured two children who are dressed in traditional German clothing, the lederhosen. This is an inversion of the expected image of an African dressed in the traditionally colorful African clothing. The image is about a kind of layered, mixed cultural identity that has developed among the diaspora all over the world. The works of these photographers have travelled to different countries, and now we will get the opportunity to witness their works right here in our capital. Mark the date on your calendar; it is a show that should not be missed.