Spotlight: Dawit Tibebu’s Photo Exhibit in Toronto ‘Freedom Fighters: Ethiopia’

Photo: Patriot Banti Dibu by Dawit Tibebu

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 14th, 2020

New York (TADIAS) — In October of 1935 Italy invaded Ethiopia for the second time following its dramatic failure to colonize the country some four decades earlier that ended in its humiliating defeat at the battle of Adwa in 1896. And once again Ethiopians rose in defense of their country, resisting and sabotaging by all means necessary, the Fascist occupation of Ethiopia during World War II.

Last week a new photography exhibition by Ethiopian photojournalist Dawit Tibebu opened at Band Gallery in Toronto, Canada highlighting Ethiopia’s “freedom fighters” during the 1930s.

“The individuals pictured in this series would have been children during the conflict and thus the dawning of the military uniforms, medals and carrying of weapons holds special significance as family memorabilia,” Dawit says in his artist statement. “The objects worn and carried here are also a commentary on how objects can move from personal heirlooms, to historical artifacts in museums on display for others to examine.” He adds: “Each story presented here is a window into family and memory, providing personal insights into public events of global historical significance.”

(Photo by Dawit Tibebu)

Dawit, who resides in Toronto, was born and raised in Ethiopia. He studied Foreign Language and Literature at Hawassa University.

According to his bio provided by the gallery:

Dawit Tibebu is a photojournalist who is interested in how photography and personal interviews can help to expose the not so obvious insight into the subject. Artists use portraiture to share a representation of a person where the facial expression is often the focus of the image. The intent is usually to display the likeness or personality of the subject. Through the portrait an artist can offer a window into an aspect of a person, as the face is captured in a snapshot of a moment that is now made available for permanent examination. This concept is especially relevant here when considering the history portrayed in these images. In bringing the sitters’ stories to light, the artist offers a window into the personal experiences of the subjects and brings the viewer into a relationship with each image as an exploration of each layer of the overall narrative the collective of images tell.”

As Dawit states regarding his current exhibition: “Patriots are not soldiers. Our fathers didn’t have a salary, medical insurance, professional training, nor had any benefit an army could demand. Those patriots where just Ethiopians who accepted the call to save the country from invaders unconditionally. They didn’t give excuses to resist the request for their country. They said NO to colonization with an empty hand. And with that exclusive decision, they didn’t fear death but enlightened with unity.”

The gallery notes that an artist talk with Dawit Tibebu is scheduled for October 17th, 2020.

If you attend:

Artist: Dawit Tibebu
Curator: Karen Carter and Belinda Uwase
Freedom Fighters: Ethiopia
Thursday, October 8, 20207:00 PM
Sunday, November 1, 20208:00 PM
BAND Gallery
19 Brock AvenueToronto, ON, M6K 2K9Canada (map)

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