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    The Ethiopian artist behind Beyonce’s stunning maternity shoot

    Beyonce is pregnant with twins. She shared the news of her pregnancy this week with a portrait of herself in front of a floral backdrop with green mesh adorning her head and stomach.

    She released the full maternity shoot, and the rest of the pictures are just as stunning. The striking viral photos are the handwork of Ethiopian American photographer and conceptual artist, Awol Erizku. Much of the Los Angeles-based artist’s earlier works placed black subjects at the center of well-known renaissance paintings.

    Awol took a similar direction with Beyonce’s shoot. The photos envision the singer as a black (and beautiful) version of the Roman goddess Venus. For his latest collection, I was Going to Call It Your Name But You Didn’t Let Me, Awol paired his paintings with curated mixes of the songs that inspired them. It showcased last year at Art Basel. This is not the first time that Beyonce has looked to African artists for inspiration. (Okay Africa)

    The Illusionist @ Alliance Ethio-Française

    A French-Scottish animated comedy-drama entitled “The Illusionist” (L’Illusioniste) will be screened on February 28 at the Alliance Ethio-Française. This film is based on an unproduced script written by French mime, director, and actor Jacques Tati in 1956.

    The story is set in 1959 and is told with only a few brief snatches of dialogue, much of it in Gaelic. A down on his luck illusionist (known by his stage name, “Tatischeff”) watches his popularity and employment in Paris dry up. He packs his meager belongings and props, including an ill-tempered white rabbit, and moves to London. There he finds himself as the irrelevant act following a popular rock band. Despite his wounded pride, he adopts a nothing to lose the attitude and continues plying his trade yet smaller gatherings in bars, cafes, and private parties. The film released in France on June 16, 2010 entered the box office chart at number eight with revenue of more than USD 600,000 in the first weekend.

    Boston concert honors Ethiopia-Armenia connection

    One of the oldest immigrant communities in Ethiopia, Armenians, were welcomed to Ethiopia in the early 1900s after they escaped genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire. In addition to thriving as goldsmiths, carpenters, teachers and carpet makers, Armenians-Ethiopians have also greatly contributed to the emergence of modern music in Ethiopia. Kevork Nalbandian was an Armenian who composed the first national anthem for Ethiopia as well as served as the musical director of Arba Lijoch. His nephew Nerses Nalbandian was involved in the founding of the historic Yared Music School in Addis Ababa as well as led the Municipality Orchestra.

    Nerses Nalbandian will be honored this month with a tribute concert entitled “The Emperor, the Nalbandian and the Dawn of Western Music in Ethiopia,” on Sunday, February 19, 2017, in Watertown, Massachusetts. The concert, which is organized by The Friends of Armenian Culture Society (FACS), features Boston’s world-renowned and the Grammy-nominated Ethio-jazz band the Either/Orchestra and multilingual cast of guest vocalists including Debo Band’s Bruck Tesfaye. (Tadias)

    The Pianist @ Goethe Institut

    On the Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017, a film entitled “The Pianist” will be screened on February 16 at the Goethe Institut. This event is organized in cooperation with the German embassy in Addis Ababa and will be followed by discussion.

    The pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski, scripted by Ronald Harwood, and Starring Adrien Brody. It is based on the autobiographical book, The Pianist – an extraordinary World War II memoir by Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Wladyslaw Szpilman. The film was a co-production between France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Poland. The Pianist was met with significant critical praise and received multiple awards and nominations. It was awarded the Palme d’Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. At the 75th Academy Awards, The Pianist won Oscars for Best Director (Polanski), Best Adapted Screenplay (Ronald Harwood), and Best Actor (Adrien Brody), and was nominated for four other awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture.

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