Michael Tsegaye (born 1975 Addis Ababa, lives and works in Addis Ababa Ethiopia)

by Monique


– Is your photographic art work committed to dealing with the context in which you live?

I wonder if you can clarify the first question for me. Do you mean to ask, how does my photographic art work engage the context I live in, or are you asking me if I take my photographs in the place/context where I actually live? (as opposed to traveling somewhere else to take photographs)

– Yes the first question does ask whether your work engages the context in which you live and to what extent you do that. Perhaps you could explain a bit further what the changes to the City of Addis mean to you and what kinds of things are getting lost or renewed in the process.artist statements 

As a contemporary artist and photographer, anything that I photograph would by its very nature integrate the evolution of my society. In the past ten years, the city in which I live, Addis Abeba, and the rest of Ethiopia has gone through tremendous changes – both demographically as well as physically – with the construction of new buildings and the demolition of the old ones. The changes that modernity has brought about in the rural areas are also quite significant, as old cultural practices adopt certain aspects of new ones. My photographs capture these nuances; whether I like it or not.

– Are the marks of the past influencing your way of taking photographs? If they do, how do history and collective memory affect your work?

The past appears in my cultural heritage: Ethiopia’s music, literature, its tradition of wax and gold are what I’ve inherited