Since 2017, a consortium of 12 different organizations has launched an annual Tibeb be Adebabay art festival (the Amharic expression equivalent with the English term art in public space). This year, the festival is happening with “the idea of filling the streets of Addis Ababa with cultural activities to meet, to explore and to enjoy” says the official festival website message.

The 2021 art festival with the theme “Art to Earth” is fascinating, with a hybrid platform, offline & online, that is hosting various performances. Poetry, music, theater and dance, video screening, exhibitions, fashion shows, panel & roundtable discussions, storytelling, biking and skating fest on the streets were part of the activities so far!

Last week I have attended one of the events online, a panel discussion on Climate Change and its emerging influences: a dissection of the Future, it was very interesting and well organized, bringing environmental experts and cultural practitioners such as Meskerem Assegued, founder of Zoma Contemporary Art Center & Museum, Anthropologist, Curator and writer with sharing her experiences and practices who says that, as we all know, the environment at this point is at a critical stage. Today depleting the natural resources has the high costs of tomorrow. Therefore we have to think about the coming generations.

The festival organizers say that what got us together is our shared passion to promote art and creativity which is also the goal of Tibebe be Adebabay. It is our collective work with the support of the steering committee which made this amazing festival come to life.

As a follower of their events on social media with nostalgic memories of my hometown, Addis Ababa, the art festival is an admirable initiative that gives so much meaning and values to our society.

I would like to warmly congratulate the organizers. Dear readers, please find the official press release below sent to the Pressenza press agency by Tibeb team.

Monday, 29 November 2021, Press Release

It‘s Tibeb time again!

From Sunday, 28 November to Friday, 31 December, Tibeb Online, in collaboration with Tibeb be Adebabay, will bring a range of physical, digital, and hybrid cultural and creative experiences. Organized under the broad theme: Art to Earth‘ and with support from EUNIC Global, this year’s experience will feature a range of content produced by Ethiopian and European artists, creatives and curators from different walks of life.

In 2017, the Goethe-Institut Äthiopien in collaboration with a number of Ethiopian artists and cultural practitioners would launch Tibeb be Adebabay (Amharic for ―art in public space‖), an annual art festival that aims to take art out from the studios and galleries and into public space. Tibeb be Adebabay offered a new perspective to what life in the city can be about. With this in mind, creatives made use of public spaces in Addis Abeba through movable Suks (Amharic for ―kiosks‖) in order to engage everyday people in various artistic and participatory performances and interventions.

Following the successful run of the festival between 2017 and 2019, Tibeb be Adebebay would in 2020 get support from EUNIC Global‘s European Houses of Culture initiative, allowing it to explore different models of cultural cooperation. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced people into their homes, Tibeb be Adebabay could no longer engage with the public in the physical public space; Tibeb be Adebabay 2020 needed to go online.

Throughout 2020, Tibeb be Adebabay, in close cooperation with EUNIC Ethiopia, continued to facilitate cultural encounters through physical, digital and hybrid platforms, setting the foundation for Tibeb Online, a creative online platform that connects the arts and the people. By the years’ end, Tibeb be Adebabay would evolve from a yearly festival into an independent player in the Ethiopian cultural scene whilst EUNIC Ethiopia‘s Tibeb Online project was launched with the aim of strengthening creative networks.

In 2021, Tibeb Online and Tibeb be Adebabay would merge under the ―Art to Earth‖ banner to explore new methods of socially and environmentally conscious cultural engagement. Equipped with lessons in virtual cultural programming, the experience in 2021 specifically aims to support cultural networks within Ethiopia, facilitate knowledge sharing, and build the capacities of creative professionals through inclusive platforms for exchange.

Semi-public events organized by 20 artists and creative collectives from different disciplines will be held throughout the city and online, accompanied by a range of activities that complement the festival. By doing so, participants communicate the overall value of art as well as its power to address a range of social and environmental issues. The events will be made accessible to a maximum of 50 people due to COVID-19 safety restrictions as well as to an online audience for selected activities.

Tibeb Online is a project by EUNIC Ethiopia and its partners. EUNIC — European Union National Institutes for Culture — is Europe‘s network of national cultural institutes and organizations, with 36 members from all 28 EU member states.

Program Duration

Offline: Sunday, 28 November to Sunday, 5 December 2021 Online: Monday, 6 December to Friday, 31 December

Program Locations

Offline: Goethe-Institut, Instituto Italiano di Cultura, Alliance Française, Shifta & others (by invite only due to COVID19 safety measures)


Photo credits: Tibeb Team