Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I have been making documentary and experimental videos, and dramatic films for ten years. My time-based and photographic works have been exhibited in Ethiopia, South Africa, Burkina Faso, the USA, France and Canada.
I’m very interested in working on the convergence of age-old indigenous African/Ethiopian mediums with modern, technology driven ones like cinema, photography, VR and AR thereby discovering new ways of telling stories, engaging audiences and fostering community values, understanding and tolerance. This also involves explorations of two seemingly contradictory sensibilities in the cultures from which these mediums originated: values of moderation, reverence for nature and communal living, in contrast to values of individualism and superfluous comfort aided by technology. But does this mean one precludes the other? What are some problems prevalent in modern society that wisdom from indigenous cultures can address?
As many Africans look to the west as a way of life to aspire to, many traditional practices that constitute the core social functions within African societies are fast becoming obsolete. I have made it my responsibility as a filmmaker to document, re-tell and re-imagine African stories to help them stay relevant in an increasingly developing world. Cultural identity should not be a compromise for development.