Last Thursday we took a short walk down to the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood to check out the SELAM visual arts festival. Although this visual arts component is only in it’s second year, Sound the Horn has been putting on the SELAM festival to showcase and inspire youth of Ethiopian/Eritrean heritage since 2004 . With the hard work of theatre director Wayne Mengesha and multiple-hat-wearer-producer-action woman Addis Embiyalow amongst others, this initiative has grown progressively in it’s creativity and professionalism.
The quality and variety of the art – from painting to photography to video – in the gallery installation which takes up the entire top floor of the Gladstone Hotel is a testament to how far the festival has come. Artists featured include Kal Assefa whose impressive work you might recall from the inaugraul SUPAFRIK pop-up in July as well as photographer Naz Tana who was responsible for the images in the Afrotropolis look-book. The works of new and emerging artists from SELAM’s youth arts program are also showcased here. We especially like the Aden Abebe’s photography (see picture of veiled woman below).
The SELAM visual arts festival runs till this Sunday October 23rd and concludes with an open mic featuring Kamau (whose album you NEED to hear), Ayo Leilani, Dey and Helen Yohannes. Special Shout out to Taiwo Bah for providing the beautiful photographs.