Tibeb Be Adebabay (Amharic for “Art in Public Space”) is a participatory street festival staged in Meskel Square, the main public square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ethiopia’s definition in cultural policy is limited to the areas of heritage, tourism and cultural industries, resembling a lack of understanding and appreciation for contemporary artists, their work and their role in society. Public space can rarely be used by artists or civil society actors for encounters between people.
Born out of the conviction that culture is not a luxury but a necessity, Tibeb Be Adebabay offers new experiences for Addis Ababa residents in the public domain. The primary goal of the festival is to get the public to participate in the making of artworks with artists in the streets.
In fact, Tibeb Be Adebabay was born for the streets, the squares, and the public spaces where people are mostly passive passersby. Public spaces can rarely be used by artists or civil society actors for encounters between people in Ethiopia, and the Festival aims at addressing this issue by opening up new opportunities for societal dialogue and collaboration. The campaign ‘Our Future Together’ to raise awareness of the role the arts play in society has been another major element of such commitment.
Due to the exceptional circumstances, in 2020 Tibeb Be Adebabay will continue its unique relationship with the public through an online version of the festival. In their own words, 'Internet is the new Adebabay', and Tibeb Be Adebabay will be able to address a broader and international public this year.
- Interactive art production festival: taking all the challenges the city is facing and changing it in to an opportunity to share the creative sides of its community. The Online Art Festival is where communities can interact, engage and exhibit people's art work with 30 selected multi-talented artists and an international audience, leading up to #CHALLENGES and #PRIZES. Selected themes are movement/dance, games and playful design, music and poetry, street art, AR/VR and many more.
- Online panel discussion "Creative Experience of a City" Street festival | City | Culture | Migration.
- Virtual exhibition "Who am I? - Telling Migrating Stories": all works co-produced during the festival will be exhibited online.
The project's contextualized needs for more open, inclusive and contemporary art interaction in public spaces were clearly identified – as well as the problems it aims to address – in the proposal and the selection committee of European 'Houses' of Culture unanimously agreed on the importance of the project. Facilitating artists as the agent of change engaging the public space to promote the role of arts and the use of public spaces for society was recognised to be supported by any cultural means. The core strategy relies heavily on the participating artists to come up with ideas, innovations, and solutions for multilayered cultural challenges that the project has identified. The project furthermore proposes an elaborate management model, where all stakeholders – EUNIC members, EU Delegation, local partners – have a distinct and complementary role to play.