English Language Fellow Matthew Jellick created the Ambo University Women’s English Club last fall with the purpose of providing female students a space to discuss gender and education issues. To celebrate the end of the academic year, Jellick coordinated a field-trip with them to see art created by Ethiopian women in the capital city Addis Ababa.
The group rented a mini-bus for the three-hour drive to the Laphto Gallery, which is currently featuring an exhibit titled, “Inspired Women in Art.” The university students met with the curator there, who not only showed them the pieces on display, but even invited them in the backroom to highlight artworks that were not open to the public. Each student was given an exhibit booklet that showcased the individual artists and their works as a souvenir for them to remember the trip.
The students picked a traditional Ethiopian restaurant to eat lunch and discuss the exhibit. They continued their art tour in the afternoon by visiting the National Museum.
None of the students had ever been to the National Museum before, let alone an art gallery. “Art is a mechanism for communication, and I have no doubt that through our observations of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts, thoughts were provoked and awareness raised as to not only what it means to be Ethiopian, but what it means to be a woman here,” Jellick said.
An article about their trip was featured in an edition of the U.S. Embassy Newsletter, The Lion.