• Zoe Akroyd Parker

Ethiopian Evening

What a wonderfully fascinating evening I spent last night, moving from Mayfair to Bloomsbury, in pursuit of Ethiopian culture.

I began at the Gallery of African Art, where I was lucky enough to catch the final days of Ethiopian artist Daniel Soresa's stunning exhibition. I first saw his work as part of a group exhibition at GAFRA in 2016 when he exhibited his painting "Cezanne's Carrot". There are currently 14 of his paintings on display; the colours and the textures are so tempting to touch! It was also a lovely treat to catch up with Michele at GAFRA and chat about Evans Mbugua's recent Art workshop at the school at which I teach, which was so much fun- and now we can't wait for Evans' next exhibition at GAFRA!

Following this, I moved on to the School of Oriental and African Studies to spend an evening with the Anglo-Ethiopian Society. The guest speaker was Elizabeth Blunt, a former BBC news reporter, who spent the years 2007-2009 reporting from Addis Ababa (In the Ethiopian calendar, that's 2000-2002 so the lecture included references to the millennium celebrations). I really enjoyed the whole talk, particularly poignant for me was Elizabeth's memory of a brief chat with women from the Hamer Tribe in the Lower Omo Valley. The women said to her, "The tourists take all these photos and we don't know what they do with them. Do they laugh at us?" This brought tears to my eyes, and made me want to run straight back to the Lower Omo Valley and tell them Absolutely Not! My own brief meeting with the women from the Hamer Tribe was a life-changing event and I owe so much to them. I am delighted to have been asked to write a piece for the Anglo-Ethiopian Society about my experiences in Ethiopia and my focus will be on the enormous influence that the women from the Hamer Tribe have had on my life and work.

Once you have travelled to Ethiopia it keeps calling you back. As Elizabeth Blunt said, "It is an alluring place."

meetings with these

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