Tibeb BeAdebabay, a travelling art project which is a creation of Goethe Institute to explore the ‘art side of Addis Ababa,’ was launched this Thursday around Dibab Restaurant, an iconic spot among students of Addis Ababa University (AAU) Sidist Kilo Campus. Designed to address the considerable interest in art sectors in Addis, the event consists of creative activities for people to take part in. Julia Sattler, director of Goethe Institute, explained; “art should not be a luxury few can afford, everyone should experience something new”. Traveling art projects around city centers instead of the conventional galleries or museums is uniquely fit to reach a broader audience.
This year’s Tibeb BeAdebabay will take place at Meskel Square, Sidist Kilo, Bole Medanialem, Megenagna and the National Theater area. Last year’s Tibeb Badebabay featured mobile suqs (kiosks) that travelled around Addis Ababa with the participants offering different activities for the city dwellers to enjoy. This year’s suqs were constructed by students of the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC) at Addis Ababa University that responded to an open call for the design competition.
With eleven groups of artists participating, this year’s event will focus on performance, film, architecture and city planning, photography, drawing/painting, gaming, music, printmaking, children’s literature and poetry.
Fekat circus will be performing near the National Theater and Meskel square, showcasing their unique skills and allowing visitors to participate in juggling and offering workshops. Hiwot Admasu and Henok Mebratu have curated “Do You Speak Cinema”, a participatory program that explores casting, acting, shooting and directing. Their program will gather information of visitors interested in acting, and will teach how to use camera and sound gears, editing films and screening the works the following day.
Students of EiABC curated a suq inviting visitors to explore the fundamentals of architecture using the basic ideas of form, space and order through simple drawing and model making exercises. Maheder Gebremedhim pushes this initial introduction to architecture a little further by giving participants a glimpse of future homes through virtual reality. This ‘city suq’ investigates Addis Ababa’s housing shortage, difficulties winning the condominium lottery and inability to travel internationally. By offering virtual reality tours, the project explores if digital possibilities can be another option for inhabitants of the city to fulfil their need for affordable housing.
Students at Alle School of Fine Art and Design, designers, painters and printmakers collaborate to create a ‘tasting arts’ suq consisting of activities like image making, experiencing someone else’s identity and matching artwork to artist. Another visual arts suq, Little Creative Center’s (LCC) is curated by visual artist Mulugeta Gebrekidan and will encourage visitors to draw portraits of willing participants. This project is based on the premise that everyone should express themselves freely using art regardless of their previous experience or lack thereof. This, he hopes, will help people draw from real life and create connections between strangers.
The photography suq ‘foto quech quech’ offers free portraits for visitors, which will be given to the subject on the spot. This project, curated by Maheder Haileselassie and Brook Getachew, hopes to challenge many locals’ discomfort with street photography around the city.
Students and teachers of Jazz Amba School of Music Charity address the high demand of music training by playing music in various city centers and allowing passerby’s, especially non-musicians, to play instruments with them.
Aster Bedane, playwright, director and actress, gives themes to participants and encourage them to write their own poem and present them to visitors. This suq will also consist of a book exchange program. The children’s literature suq is set up by Bruktawit Tigabu, co-founder and CEO of Whiz Kids Workshop, and will consist of activities like writing stores, decorating book covers and reading aloud.
Gamify Addis, the gaming suq, aims to spread awareness about game thinking through digital and physical gaming experiences and real life gamification in the form of social experiments. Chewata Awaqi, a cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary group, is the curator of the show in partnership with D5, a team of game enthusiasts working to create a local gaming industry.
Last year’s Tibeb BeAdebabay had over 10,000 participants. Moving art beyond the few people within the art circle that typically enjoy it and making it an interactive city-wide activity, Julia Sattler says is inspiring for the artist, inspiring for Goethe Institute and important for a city.