It is a great pleasure to welcome you to Addis Ababa for this 3rd edition of Addis Foto Fest.
Addis Foto Fest is an important fixture of the Addis Ababa and African art calendar. It owes a great deal to the hard work of its director, Ms. Aida Muluneh, an accomplished photo artist in her own right; and it is a vivid testimony of the growing contribution of the Diaspora to the transformation and the Renaissance of our country.
Our Renaissance started some 20 years ago with the establishment of a democratic and federal system of government that opened up a real future for our mosaic of nations, nationalities and peoples. From the beginning it wasn’t confined to politics and development. We have seen the emergence of young and talented artists in many fields, including photography. They have able to tell the world of their unique stories and experiences, and not just in Ethiopia. In an increasingly interconnected art world, the input of African artists has resonated across the globe.
Addis Foto Fest, offering an opportunity to host some of the world’s most inspiring and thought-provoking artists, is a manifestation of this. It represents an artistic occupation of Addis Ababa, and it allows our communities, and particularly our youth, to learn different, exciting and thoughtful ways to express ourselves. Art festivals encourage diversity, increase creativity, bring neighbors into dialogue and help increase our understanding of each other. Art, indeed, is the single most important medium for global solidarity. Addis Foto Fest is a stage for international artists to express the solidarity of the human spirit. It allows all Africans to share in our diversity of cultures and exposes us to equally vibrant artistic expression from around the world. This festival represents a new generation of art that can transform our cities and communities for the better
Art is the highest expression of human creative skill and imagination. It is a simultaneous reflection both of our common humanity, as members of the human family, and of our individualism as separate members of distinct communities. It reminds us that diversity should be embraced and nurtured as a source for unity. Encouraging dialogue among artists and showcasing artistic expression from different cultures, art is a powerful tool for fostering understanding and creating conditions for peaceful coexistence. Today, when cultural differences still remain one of the main sources of conflict in Africa and across the globe, it could hardly be more relevant.
Cultural manifestations like Addis Foto Fest, over and above the demonstration of strength and influence in the works of talented photo-artists, established or upcoming, are important gatherings. They bridge cultural and social divisions and offer infinite possibilities for the transformation of cities and communities. They give us the sense of ownership of our diversity in culture. They help create the conditions for the emergence of the just, peaceful and more prosperous world to which we all aspire.
Ethiopia itself is a place of endless possibility. It is a country where the human journey started. It has inexhaustible cultural, historical and natural riches, and it is a country undergoing a genuine and wide-ranging renaissance. So, we welcome you here today to participate both in our Renaissance and in the Renaissance of Africa.
I wish you a successful Festival and a wonderful stay here in Ethiopia.
Ameseghenalehu! (Thank You!)
H.E. Dr. Tedros Adhanom
Minster of Foreign Affairs
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia