In 2009 (or 2001 by the Ethiopian calendar) we journeyed a number of times to Addis Ababa in order to adopt our daughter from the Kidane Mehret Children’s Home.
Through the trials and tribulations of the international adoption process we are taught how important it is to make a positive record of the culture, traditions and heritage of the country and its people.
Every day we travelled around the city in one of the distinctive blue Lada taxis that provide the main means of public transport and we took hundreds photos.
I had intended to create of series of paintings based on these photos and so I set about distilling them into images that I could use. I digitally processed the original photographs to capture the atmosphere, colour, and emotive sense of place, as well as the abstract qualities of the subjects.
While I was pouring over the scenes I couldn’t help but think of the words of Terry Callier’s song Lazarus Man in which a young man, brought back to life, roams Africa in search of redemption, with “one foot in glory and one foot in hell.”
The pictures which developed from this process are intended to give a glimpse of everyday life in the city of Addis Ababa, although not in photojournalistic way, and without the normal stereotypes of images of Ethiopia. The beauty, colour and diversity of the city and its people serve as a canvas for a personal artistic impression.
I hope these images provide an unexpected view of a unique place.
About the Author: GM Spiers as been producing paintings, photographs and digital art for the last 30 years and has lived and worked in London, Glasgow and Cork. Spiers' work, described by the writer JG Ballard as "very striking and original", typically explores the landscape of globalised media and technology and our place in it.