Hisab: The Hustle and Bustle of Addis Ababa in Short Animation

Above: A scene from hisab, short animation based on Addis' urban life with animation painted on a single surface canvas.

Tadias Magazine
Art Talk

Updated: Friday, April 22, 2011

New York (Tadias) – In the following video entitled Hisab, Ethiopian American artist Ezra Wube takes a humorous poke at the hustle and bustle of Addis Ababa. The short animated video tells an urban folklore by bringing to life the sights and sounds inside the city’s popular blue and white minibus (a cross between a bus and a taxi). The short film’s main characters are four-legged residents – donkeys, dogs and goats.

“The technique I used to make the animation is called stop-action animation,” Ezra tells us. “The entire frames were painted on a single surface canvas. After painting a scene I take still picture and then paint the next frame on top of it. So its pretty much like watching the same painting changing continuously. The paintings physically no longer exist but only the memories.”

Ezra who moved to the United States at the age of 18 was born and raised in Addis Ababa. In 2003 he was awarded the Massachusetts Annual Black Achievement Award, and held his first one-person show at the Dreams of Freedom Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, curated by Emily Sloat Shaw. In 2004, he received his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art. Upon graduation, Ezra was awarded a Dondis and Godine Travel Fellowship to conduct research in Ethiopia on folktales and traditional lore. In 2006, he held his second solo show entitled “Story Telling” at the United Nations in New York. The following year, Ezra was part of the “Ethiopian Millennium” art show at Blackburn Gallery, Howard University in Washington, DC. In 2008, Ezra participated in three exhibitions: “Reflections in Exile – Five Contemporary African Artists Respond to Social Injustice” at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasett, “Here to There” at the South Seattle Community College in Seattle, Washington, and “Abyssinia to Harlem and Back” at the Canvas Paper and Stone Gallery in New York.

Ezra received the Pamela Joseph Art Scholarship in 2009 while working on his Master’s of Fine Arts thesis at Hunter College in New York. And most recently, in 2011, Ezra held his first screening at Addis Atlier, “Memory and Process,” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, curated by Leo Kosm.

Watch:

8 Responses to “Hisab: The Hustle and Bustle of Addis Ababa in Short Animation”


  1. 1 Kidane Apr 22nd, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Very Good

  2. 2 Daniel Bogale Apr 22nd, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Good job Ezra. I like!

  3. 3 Ben Apr 22nd, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    The Amharic translation needs a bit more work. Other than that it is excellent! Now I know why donkey’s are slow to respond to car horns:-)

  4. 4 LiYA Apr 22nd, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    haha…funny! The Woyala forgot the fiyel has already paid. He took her bercha. That’s a form of payment.

  5. 5 Kokebe Apr 23rd, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Very entertaining! I’m sure kids would enjoy it as well.

  6. 6 Addisu May 5th, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    It reminds me of the movie Animal farm.

  7. 7 EASB May 25th, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Job well done Ezra, If you are thinking about making part II of this short animation, you might consider the iconic Ethiopian domestic animal sheep and the reliable rooster.

  1. 1 Ten Arts and Entertainment Stories of 2011 at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Jan 1st, 2012 at 12:49 am
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