11 May 2021
Astrobus Ethiopia 2021
Omo Valley Southwest Ethiopia
We invite you to join us on our journey of learning and unlearning that has already been underway for the past year with Astrobus-Ethiopia through the curatorial inquiry of As you go…roads under your feet, towards the new future.
Astrobus was initially established in 2017 to reach students across Ethiopia with the aim to inspire, connect, and empower. In previous editions, scientists, astronomers, artists, writers, and filmmakers alike have hopped on the bus in Addis Ababa to embark on this journey of knowledge sharing.
The previous year moving into 2021 has been unlike the years we have all personally experienced before. As Ethiopia continues to undergo an unceasing rise in covid cases (with a 1 in 4 infection rate), challenges have arisen regarding how to maintain distance with ones communities while still making a difference in localities who remain somewhat digitally estranged.
How do we keep communities safe? How may we keep caring? How do those of us who are far from Ethiopia, with no connection to the knowledge of Astrobus, actively support, learn, and empower this kind of work, grounded in our interdependence in Ethiopia. How may we overcome physical separation but also transport this knowledge and care into our own immediate communities?
In February earlier this year, the co-founders of Astrobus-Ethiopia, Yabebal Fantaye and Sinkneh Eshetu (who also make up one of the many partner cells of our project), conducted their first research trip to Omo Valley in Southwest Ethiopia to better understand the conditions under which this year’s Astrobus may happen. They visited several places with the aim to locally situate their intention – to not only understand local needs but to also explore the multitude of possibilities of what an encounter may be. More on the research trip can be read about here.
In an interview with Yabebal Fantaye, she describes this year’s research trip:
[The] ambition of Astrobus-Ethiopia is to reach students from all corners of Ethiopia through its series of events. In the past, the team has travelled to the north and the south of Ethiopia. This year, the team plans to travel to the Lower Omo valley, the south west of Ethiopia, which is known for its extraordinary cultural diversity; approximately 8 ethnic groups; and ecosystems including grasslands and pristine forests, and other natural wonders. Omotic-speakers are endemic to the south Omo and include the Ari, Maale, Daasanach, and the Hamar-Banna. The region is home to the vast omo park, and the massive Gibe III dam built on the Omo river.
The full interview can be read here.
From May 10th, the activation of Astrobus 2021 will begin and will continue for six days. We will find ways to follow their activities on daily basis and to share their experiences with you.
After the project ends, we will continue to share the accumulated knowledge of Astrobus to our local communities, to actively learn from their mode of working.
Saving you a seat on the bus,
The team for Astrobus-Ethiopia 2021 includes:
Science & Technology Team: Yabebal Fantaye, Sinkneh Eshetu, Redeat Asefa, Bezawit Tesfaye, Alemiye Mamo, Shambel Sahlu, and Eyerusalem Tamirat.
Art & Innovation Team: Yeabtsega Getachew, Michael Abebaw Felleke, Efrata Birhanu, Kalkidan Taddesse, Betelhem Abebe, Lidiya Zelke, Robel Kiros, Tinsae Tsegahun, Yidnekachew Weldesilase (ይድነቃቸው ወልደስላሴ), and Abiy Hailu
Astrobus 2021 has been supported through As you go..roads under your feet, towards the new future inquiry and CURTAIN with Rockbund Art Museum.
The inquiry is composed of research cells including What Could Should Curating Do (Belgrade), Moderna Galerija (Ljubljana), Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai), Guangdong Times Museum (Guangzhou), ArtCom (Astana), Robel Temesgen and Sinkneh Eshetu (Addis Ababa), and The Public Library (Bor). The first stage of the project has been supported by the Foundation for Arts Initiatives, CURTAIN (Rockbund Art Museum), Austrian Cultural Forum, Curatorial Practice (Monash University Art, Design and Architecture), and the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.
Local partners of Astrobus 2021 include: Ethiopian Space Science & Technology Institute (ESSTI), Ethiopian Space Science Society (ESSS), the University of Arbaminch, and the University of Jinka.