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This new blog is focussed on a new IR :: Indigenous Resistance book entitled ” Ethiopia : Dub Journey II” by Amastara and Brazilian designer& soundsystem operator Dubdem. The book is available from Lulu books Here This blog will also feature and give updates on other artistic activities related to the book .
This 152 page full colour book ( ISBN 978-1-927801-07-9) features various visual dub mixes and collages created by Dubdem that accompany text written by Amastara about his journey in Ethiopia.
Dubbed into the book and visual mixes are words of wisdom /wisdub from healers ,teachers, philosophers,warriors and thinkers like John Trudell, Douglas Cardinal and Nada Ashkar to name a few.
In IR we are not to content to just have these visuals and infomation just sit between the pages of a book . We have created exhibitions that draw on the book for locations such as The National Museum Of Ethiopia .
When IR worked with designer Dubdem for the museum posters, our intent was to create a variety of posters that would be placed on the street and give people a sense of what was inside the book visually. For instance one of the focusses of the book are various images that explore original hairstyles that were traditionally used by African and indigenous peoples around the world. Alot of people in Ethiopia were surprised to find out that some of the hairstyles like the geometric shaped hairdo of the woman in the poster actually came from Ethiopia.
The book also visually explores various images and styles of dreadlocks .For instance in the poster above designed by Dubdem in the upper left corner you can see an image of Pihtokahanapiiyn better know as chief Poundmaker a 19th century Plains Cree chief who had long dreadlocks which he refused to cut . In the bottom right corner of the poster, you see an image of an Ethiopian monk who has dreadlocks. This is something that surprised alot of young people in Ethiopia who were unaware that some Ethiopian monks and spiritual hermits also had a practice of wearing dreadlocks and that it was not something that just only came from Jamaica.
The book ” Ethiopia Dub Journey II ” has an extensive detailed visual bibilography, artistic credits and explanations for the many images and collages that are in the book .It is an opportunity for the reader to delve further and use the images as a sign posts to learn about many different types of cultures ,historical figures and fields of knowledge.
Putting up dub art around the city of Addis Ababa that are excerpts from the book”Ethiopia Dub Journey II”
These are some images that we put at a shoe shine stall in Addis Ababa.One of the images shows the Ethiopian Empress Taytu Betel who fought on the battlefield at the battle of Adwa when Ethiopia defeated Italy on march 1, 1896 .This was the first time on the continent of Africa that an African country had defeated a European colonial power in battle.
One of our priorities is to dub the text and images that are in the book onto the street where everyone has the ability to see the images. Here you see some of the art from the book that we put up in Addis Ababa , the capital of Ethiopia .One of the collages we created was something to support the enviromental activists fighting against the construction of oil pipelines at Standing Rock.The poster and the book utilises the ancient Ethiopian language Geez, which is the oldest language currently still being written in the world and which is the language that many of the most important manuscripts and spiritual texts like the Kebre Negast from Ethiopia were written in.
We created special posters that we put up on the street that had excerpts from the book like this poster by Dubdem which features Empress Menen from Ethiopia .
IR is always thinking about how can we get the work to the people who might not go to museums or into bookstores ; thats why we seek out alternative ways to reach the people.
So in Ethiopia IR also put the images and text in traditional restarants and coffee houses like this very humble traditional coffee and food place that was run by a very lovely couple who were starting up their first business and with limited capital were trying to decorate their restarant.
we showed them the “Ethiopia Dub Journey II” book and they chose the images that they liked and we resized and reprinted the images so that they could fit on the windows and walls of their restaurant .The book has alot of text and images that are connected to the numerous very special Ethiopian mystical holy places especially churches , monasteries and special hidden places where people go to get ” holy water ” which is a special water that people with deep spiritual faith seek out to cure diseases and ailments.Interestingly the images this couple chose were images related to the holy places in Ethiopia. For instance this image that is in the window of their shop is a photo taken by Amastara of a holy place in Ethiopia where people study spiritual works and Amastara saw this image painted on the entrance of the small building where people study. This image is also the basis for the cover of the book “Ethiopia Dub Journey II”
to draw attention to their restaurant which is located down a small alleyway ,we created some dub signposts using visual code.
In the same neighbourhood IR found an Ethiopian family owned restarant and club that featured live reggae music every friday night. Alot of Ethiopians and Caribbean people frequented the place and often reggae musicians from places like Shashamane came to play at the club.
The owner was very open and liked our book and gave us full free rein to to fill his club with images that really explored the links between the struggles of Black and Indigenous peoples.
This is a part of one of the collages that is found in the book. It is depicting a variety black indigenous people using dreadlocks in this photo for instance you can see an Eritrean warrior, Jamaican singer Jah9 ,the reggae band The Abyssinians, Mohave chief Iratuba and Baby Jack a Cree man.
Beside it we placed another giant collage created by Dubdem and Amastara which mixed images of Count Ossie founder of the Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari , the album cover of their seminal work ” Groundation” and image of Hehaka Sapa , Black Elk a Lakota medicine man. All these collages can be found in the “Ethiopia Dub Journey II” book.
IR felt it was very appropriate that as folks entered the reggae club entrance that beside the picture of Bob Marley they were greeted by the sight of another dreadlocked warrior chief Poundmaker.
Creating a mural in Budapest, Hungary based on Ethiopia Dub Journey II
( big up to M1 & M2 ) they completely reworked the front of an abandoned building which is also just down the street from a very historically significant building in Budapest so often tour groups come along this street. The neighbourhood also contains shops and galleries with very friendly owners like the Supermarket Gallery.Even though “officially” IR didnt have a permit or permission to paint the mural instead of doing it clandestinately at night like they often do, they just decided to do it broad daylight as if they did have permission. As they did a lovely process unfolded as shopkeepers and gallery owners got involved in the process holding shaky ladders ,giving advice for colours and as they worked not only did the painters get encouragement and appreciation but offers to paint other locations .Images of Empress Menen alongside indigenous philospher John Trudell, Marcus Garvey and the face of Emperor Haile Sellasie when he was a youth are part of a mural onlookers described as being unique in Budapest.Fittingly for IR the mural is also on the other side of the street from a handicraft and awareness center set up by refugees.
Some people have asked us that since this is Dub Journey II is there another book? The answer is yes! The inspiration and precursor to this book written by Amastara and with design by Dubdem is entitled ” Ethiopia: The Journey” ( ISBN 978-1-927801-04-8) it is available from Lulu books HERE
Our collaborators Dubdem have a new website .This site has a beautiful page with photos and excerpts from this first Ethiopia book .Check it here
IR creations come together through maximum cooperations and minimum resources. There are too many dub people to thank but we would like to send a special rebel salute to the Chia Caleta Dub Crew they know who they are, Tapedave minister of reality dub and logistical problem solver ,the dub healers like Senai, Judith, Shakti ,Diane Hill , Bubba , James Carpenter and Nada , the dub children like Luana , Hulk , Aluna, Apachita and Dehcho who inspire us , the graffiti artists special big up to the Chia, Colombia and Nairobi , Kenya Crew special big up to Swift, Kerosh, Bankslave, Uhuru Brown ,Wise two the Brasil street art subversives Baader & Lisa,photographers like Saybriya Simon ( Jah9 photo ) and Summer Faith Garcia ( Aztec dancer photo) who work can be seen on this blog post, special big up to designer Dubdem for all the dub and care he puts into this work, the dub Ethiopian youth who inspired us , helped us put up works and did dub printing with us like Dub dj K.B , Micky, dub antenna woman , Bernie and all the musicians and soundsytems like ADF , Natty Congo, Dr Das, Mad Mike, UR , Deeder Zaman, Kebre Ethiopia whose sounds influence ,inspire us and keep us going , the dub dancers like like Aya ikuno Shimamura & Emi Katayama,Fabdub and Jahteecha for all the ital dub food , those like Halim Roots and Tigist who stand firm in the culture, all those in the shadows and for Tamaya who inspired these works.