ezra wube

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Ethiopia is considered one of the most historically rich countries in the world. Formerly known as Abyssinia, it is one of the first kingdoms to practice Christianity, incorporating it with its preceding Judaic and Animist beliefs. The country's 3,000 years of history have been passed down through the generations orally and with the written language Geez. Ethiopia's geographical location, being the origin of mankind, has not only contributed to its unique ethnic diversity, but it has also enriched its culture. Most of the documented history, however, has been lost or destroyed over time. In Ethiopia today, one finds a network of oral tradition intertwined with the country's history and traditional lifestyle.

In the spring of 2004, we (Ezra Wube, and Jolie Ruelle) received the Dondis A. Dondis Travel Fellowship, from Massachusetts College of Art, to collect folklore throughout the country of Ethiopia. We believed that the the collection of these stories would serve as a means to both recollect and create.


Yearawit Digis: Stop-action animation, acrylic on a single surface canvas, 10 min. 18 sec., 2012


Wenzu: Stop-motion animation, grains, salt, plants, vegetables and dirt, 3 min. 09 sec., 2011


Hisab: Stop-action animation, acrylic on a single surface canvas, 7 min. 56 sec., 2011


Kesemai Metahugn (I came from The Sky): Stop-action animation, oil and acrylic on canvas, 2 min. 41 sec., 2006

Teret Teret: Illustration Book.

The Storytellers

Aya Hyena and Emete Donkey
Frehiwot Tafesech Zeleke was born in Gamogofa and currently lives in Addis Abeba. She runs a household full of family and friends and enjoys drinking coffee a few times a day with her neighbors.

The Bird and the Gourd
Debekulu Zeleke is a 17-year-old student at the churches of Lalibela in the Welo region (northwestern Ethiopia). He is known among students for his witty jokes. He hopes to become a deacon and eventually a priest at Lalibela.

Animal Party
Ashager Berihun is a college student in Gondar city (northeastern Ethiopia). He works part time as a tour guide in the most mountainous part of the country, Semaen Gonder.

Two Fools
Mezemir Gebrehana Fekade is a preist in Welo. He runs a kindegarden teaching Geez alphabets (Ethiopian letters).

Dress Code
Tigua Diberku is a mechant who lives and works in Lalibela (northen part of Ethiopia). She lost her son due to the Ethio- Ertiran war in 2003.

Hyena's Funeral
Akena Kawetu is a sugarcane farmer in Wondogenet (southern Ethiopia). A speaker of three languages, he likes to wear a police hat and jacket.


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