BETWEEN YESTERDAY AND TOMORROW - MAHEDER HAILESELASSIE (ETHIOPIA) 2023
I read Ethiopia’s history as a child in my father’s books that he left before his passing. Ethiopian society prides itself on having 3000 years of history and defeating colonisation. Remembering is in our cultural DNA. We stand at an intersection, yearning for the past and longing for the future with profound uncertainty.
I superimposed 19th-century archives made by Europeans with images from my current work and family albums. This acts as a metaphor for the overlapping of time and space in one’s memory, speaking to our nostalgia while acknowledging the involvement of the Western world in our history.
The landscape is part of our heritage. Visiting my grandparents' birthplace brought a fleet of memories. It was an initial longing for the presence of my ancestors, followed by a rush of melancholy for the complex and contested future awaiting this generation of Ethiopians.
Identity photos from my family album are layered with archival portraits of Ethiopian rulers and everyday people, bringing a new being into existence, removed further from the original, speaking to the fluidity of memory and identity shifting between personal and collective memories.
Remembering is feeling. It’s involuntarily navigating in a dreamlike state between yesterday and tomorrow.