August 2nd, 2010
By Ken Gavin
My wife Maeve has always supported me in my sometime madcap endeavours and in this one, the Ethiopian art exhibition, she has as ever remained constant. The idea of for Macfish Art arose after my daughter Caoimhe and I visited Ethiopia in 2008 to trek the Simian Mountains raising funds for Concern International. We both were overwhelmed by the experience and were left with such a positive impression of the peoples and its culture. The trip had a profound effect on both of us and on the rest of our family.
Title: Kolo Students, Artist: Addisalem Zewdie
Some months later, my other daughter Fiona introduced me to Connect Ethiopia, a Non Government Organisation that believes in the concept of Trade not Aid. Connect Ethiopia are working to develop trade networks between Ethiopian and Irish businesses . It was with Connect Ethiopia that I returned to Addis Ababa on a Trade Mission in 2009. By this time, I had already spoken to Loretto Meagher of the Leinster Gallery about the idea of holding an exhibition of Ethiopian Contemporary Art in Dublin in 2010.Loretto was open to the idea. My son SHane agreed to help me to organise the Exhibition. Based on the concept of Trade not Aid MACAFISHArt was born
Macafish Arts aims to create a sustainable model of social entrepreneurship working with emerging artists in Addis Ababa. Irish, indeed Westerners in general, often see Ethiopia through the lens of a third world country but there is so much more to this amazing country and culture. Addis Ababa is a cool happening place for modern art. Macafish Art wants to expose Irish audiences to the vibrant art scene that exists in Ethiopia and express the positive aspects of what is going on there. The young artists exhibiting at The Leinster Gallery represent a tiny fraction of the artistic population working, training and teaching in the city.
All the artists taking part in this show have exhibited in Ethiopia and some have exhibited in other parts of Africa as well as Europe.
The success of setting up such a venture during these challenging economic times with the idea of making it financially viable and sustainable will be judged in time and if we have a repeat shop in 2011! Either way we hope you enjoy the exhibition.