This publication, in the form of an Amulet, archives photographs of some of Addis Ababa’s coffee spots. Since roughly the mid-2000s, Ethiopian cities and their suburbs have gone through considerable change. Undeniably, this development has affected the forms of social life and sociability in the city. Culturally, making and drinking coffee is an invitation to people in the neighbourhood to come together and is one of the small hub available for social and political discussions.
Today, there are coffee shops or “nu, bunna tetu” spots setting-up as small businesses throughout the country. From the location to their setups of these coffee spots, I witness the importance of their role, as a public space and a place for communal interaction. Those spots have managed to carve new positions within the rapid “development” in the country. From 2015 to 2019, these coffee spots are the few (and relatively) safer spaces left in the country for discussions on politics and social change. This amulet attempts to archive the transformation of public space that is intimately tied to traditional origins but situates itself within the “urban.”
As the books were published during the time when political reform was at the age and the nation was under State of Emergency, it was to undermine the physical presence in an attempt to avoid attention from authorities. This form of Amulet is common practice for protective prayers within the Coptic Orthodox church in Ethiopia.
The publication was made as part of “There is No Politics in Painting,” a solo show at Marabouparken, Sweden, 2017.
48 pages of color print on paper
3.5 x 5cm