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Samuel HabtabJune 15, 202163

In less than half a century, traditional arts which were the core of the fabric of Addis Ababans, shied away as the capital was flooded by Western cultures and negative governmental pressure. However, few like Fendika Cultural Center, surfed against the odds and have managed to become a museum of traditional art in the center of fast-urbanizing Addis Ababa. Fendika is a repository of genuine traditional music, art, poetry, books, and handicrafts. It is also a hub for tourism and enjoyment, for both foreigners and ethnographic enthusiasts.

Melaku Belay is Founder, Owner, and Manager of Fendika. He is also an acclaimed Dancer, Choreographer, and Founding President of the Ethiopian Dance Association. He made traditional art as strong as gravity in attracting audiences. He is planning on expanding his establishment even further. EBR’s Samuel Habtab visited Fendika and chatted with Melaku and traditional art enthusiasts.


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Samuel HabtabApril 15, 2021621

Gone are the days when only humans play story characters. A human character does not have to put on excessive costumes to play the character of legends who passed even before photography was invented. With digital drawing pads, computers, and software programs, two- and three-dimensional visual characters are developed with even more features and abilities than their human counterparts. The only limitation, however, is that digital art cannot replace live theater.
The demand for digitally generated visual artworks is growing in Ethiopia, mainly from film makers, videogame enthusiasts, and visual advertisement agencies. However, there are only few digital artists as not even the traditional art has fully matured in Ethiopia. EBR’s Samuel Habtab, assessed the baby steps digital visual art is taking in Addis Ababa.


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Samuel HabtabMarch 15, 20211316

Producing a television drama series that airs daily is overambitious, especially considering the broadcast production capacity of Ethiopia. Yet, new approaches are emerging to capture the growing viewership of addictive TV series.
Sewmehon Yismah, 38, is Founder of Sewmehon Film Production. He recently reached an agreement with DStv to produce the first-of-its-kind daily show, titled Adey. The script of the series is contextually adapted from English and other foreign languages. Once produced with localized characters in Ethiopia, it will be aired on a new TV channel to be launched on DStv. DStv outsourced the production to Sewmehon, a new arrangement in Ethiopia’s television drama series production history.
Sewmehon, a movie maker and cinematographer, has produced sensational music clips including Mar Eske Twaf and a number of Amharic movies like Balageru and Sewnetwa, displaying quality that DStv could not ignore. He is also currently producing a documentary on the life and work of Tilahun Gessesse. EBR’s Samuel Habtab visited Sewmehon’s studio to converse on his upcoming work.


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Samuel HabtabJanuary 16, 20211674

Urban thinking is often shaped by artistic touches. A simple painting can change minds, more than lectures or politicians’ speeches. A city with more artistic room can transform residents into civilized minds rather than modernization enthusiasts. For street artists thriving to bring such taste, Addis Ababa is rather a construction site than an inspirational neighborhood. Street art, an under formation concept in the capital, has to compete for space, amidst growing use for walls, buildings, structures, and outdoor spaces by commercial ads. Samuel Habtab, traveled around with groups of street artists rebranding the capital.


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Samuel HabtabDecember 16, 20201895

Meron Hailu, 34, is an artist employing the unique technique of making artworks with textile materials and fibers rather than paint on canvas. She also teaches at the Ale School of Fine Arts and Design and is among a few Ethiopian artists that have mastered textile art. EBR’s Samuel Habtab visited Meron’s first solo exhibition to learn about her and textile art.



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