Maheder Haileselassie, age 26, is a freelance photographer based in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. Maheder mainly focuses on telling stories, documenting changes and speaking up for those she considers to be voiceless in her community. Photo exhibitions she has participated in include “Photojournalists in Conflict”, WPFD Celebrations in Finland, Helsinki (May 2016) and the most recent one, “In Quest For” Goethe-Institute, Addis Ababa Ethiopia (Sep 2016). Additionally, in April 2015, Maheder was among the Top 10 Honorable Mentions of Women Professional Artists after participating in the art competition announced by the US. Embassy in Addis Ababa.
Christmas in Lalibela: Depictions of an Afterlife
It was January 2016, a month after my mother, who was a strong Christian, passed away that I travelled to Lalibela for the second time to document Christmas celebrations.
I was not aware of it at the time, but later after returning home, I realized that through the process of producing most of the images, I have been seeking and reflecting on my understanding of the concept of death, the afterlife and the teachings of the Orthodox Church that I was able to grasp from childhood.
I was with more than 50,000 pilgrims spending the holiday at the eleven rock-hewn churches and with teachings that compare humans to angels and the churches to the heavens, it somehow felt comforting to be among faithful people that have resolved concepts as complicated as death.