The failure of democracy in Ethiopia

Paintings on democracy

In 2020 Mitiku Gabrehiwot began research on political dynamics and grassroots movements in Ethiopia. After a few months of research among the Kunama, an ethnic minority group in Northern Ethiopia, a deadly war broke out on November 4th 2020.

Mitiku remained in Mekelle – the capital of Tigray – during the early stages of the conflict. In February 2021, he moved to Addis Ababa and continued his work until, as an ethnic Tigrayan, he could no longer stay in Ethiopia. In late 2021, Mitiku was rescued and moved to France. Unable to return home, Mitiku reoriented the themes of his research to include the role of the Ethiopian diaspora in shaping politics and war in Ethiopia. 

The material for this exhibition was developed as a novel co-production between Mitiku Gabrehiwot and Heruy Gebremedhin, a painter and storyteller. Following a series of discussions, Heruy worked on painting the summary of themes of the research provided by Mitiku.

Below video provide some context to the paintings in the exhibition.

Nebsei, behind the scenes

“Nebsei” , a beautiful animation directed by Gabrielle Tesfaye with Mitiku Gabrehiwot, 2023, tells the story about the Tigray War and its brutal effects on women and girls from which they are only beginning to recover. The film responds to research on gender-based violence during the war, its psychological effects on society, and hopes for healing in the future. This short behind the scenes video shows a snippet of the working process between Gabrielle and Mitiku.

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