Thursday, July 18, 2024
NewsVilla Alpha to get overdue face-lift

Villa Alpha to get overdue face-lift

Heritage Authority embarking on project with 82mln budget

An Authority in charge of promoting and preserving cultural and historical heritage is readying to bring Villa Alpha, the residence of renowned Ethiopian artist, Honorable Laureate Maître Artiste Afework Tekle, back to life.

The artist is said to have bequeathed the property in Addis Ababa’s Tor Hailoch neighborhood to the government preceding his death more than a decade ago. The property has since been closed, tied up in court litigation and minor renovation projects.

Villa Alpha, designed by the artist himself and housing some of his most famed works, took a reported 15 years to build.

Officials at the Ethiopian Heritage Authority are on the lookout for a contractor to carry out a full-scale renovation of the property, which they plan to re-open as a museum. The Authority has up to 82 million birr to spend on the renovation project, which it wants to see finalized before the end of 2024.

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Abebaw Ayalew (Associate Prof.), director-general of the Authority, says his office has conducted a year-long assessment on the property’s renovation needs. He disclosed work is necessary on Villa Alpha’s roofs, floors, walls, electrical wiring, security, and garden.

The Authority floated a bid for the renovation last month.

The deputy head of Parliament’s committee for Trade and Tourism, Aschale Alamere, visited the Villa Alpha premises earlier this week to evaluate the Authority’s work.

The Committee has urged the Authority to expedite the process for the renovation of the house “with due attention to preserving the heritages.”

MPs have instructed the Authority to begin work with its 82 million birr budget, which may see increments as the work goes on.

Afework’s paintings are all gathered and under the protection of the Authority, Abebaw disclosed.

The Authority possesses the capital necessary to cover the cost of the renovation, but is ready to request additional funding from the Ministry of Finance should the budget be insufficient, according to Abebaw.

“The government is already giving it attention, so we have no worries about the budget,” Abebaw said.

Villa Alpha was the subject of drawn-out litigation after Tariku Tekle, brother of the deceased artist, claimed ownership of the property following the latter’s death. The legal battle ensued for four years, keeping the property closed to the public for the duration.

In 2017, the Authority reclaimed ownership following Tariku’s death the year prior.

The Authority has carried out minor renovation works on Villa Alpha in the years since, according to Abebaw.

However, more than three million birr spent on these small renovations has not garnered the results the Authority was hoping for, disclosed the Director-General.

“It should be a museum that fits Afewerk’s name,” Abebaw said.

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