Wanderlust Wendy

Art in Addis Ababa

After sipping coffee on a mountain top, I ventured to Asni Gallery, an art gallery in Addis. This was listed in the guide book as having some interesting art. I thought not much of it, just as something to kill time and to see something different. The entrance fee for the gallery was 1 birr (5 cents), but to take photos, it’s 20 birr ($1). I am not sure how they’d know whether I take photos once I enter, but I paid the $1 anyway.

At first, I was rather unimpressed. It looked like a “gallery” of outdoor art, comprised of rusted medal structure of sorts. But then, I hear drumming and kids playing, so I explored within the park further. Then, I discovered something quite touching. Small groups of kids were gathered around what seem like a leader, making art out of waste material – bottles, shoes, fabric, etc.

As I walked further into the park, there was an impressive structure made out of plastic bottles, perched on top of the hill. It was quite the sight. I was further impressed to see small studios scattered within the park where groups of kids were making art of different sorts. It was wonderful to see a creative outlet for the youth of Addis.

Art is often considered a luxury, and it’s wonderful to see such opportunity for the youth. I later found out that the kids are currently on vacation, and the studio works with a few different NGOs to bring the kids in during the break. I love the concept. It’s wonderful to witness children and youngsters’ creativity flowing freely, and mostly, not glue in front of a computer or an iPad. It was especially heart-warming to see Addis students rolling up sleeve to create something beautiful. I wish this type of opportunities could be available to all of the kids in the world, despite living in a city or a village.

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