Maheder Haileselassie Tadese

Home: Walls

I imagine walls as a provider of a fragmented narrative, a platform of subconscious expression and a context giver of identity that’s embedded in their owners.

Through walls of public and private spaces, I explore into my understanding of family, history, prestige, nostalgia and wishes in an urban context. I portray the owners by photographing their walls. I question, “what do people put on their wall?”

Depending on the demography, the person or the status, walls maintain different functions for different people. Some walls show photographs of past highly contested leaders of the country while others witness the strong religious root of the country or the pride that is in one’s family.

Our walls show the ambivalence created in our minds in a fast moving and transformative age. In one way, this originates from a strong sense of belonging, tradition and pride coming from the history of the country. In another, information, globalization and a sense of longing for what is on the other side of the fence and what exists beyond one’s very own chaotic journey to create one’s own imaginary utopia resides. 

Through this series, I hope to raise the question of identity and home rather than answer it. I want to spark a question in the viewer about the identity of those who own the wall and who engage with it every day.

Maheder Haileselassie Tadese (b.1990) is a photographer based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her inspiration to photograph comes from the history, identity, memories of her own and of people she engages with everyday.

She has been accepted to prestigious programs such as New York Times Portfolio review 2019 and World Press Photo Masterclass East Africa and has made a presentation at RAY Festival, Germany, 2018.

She is also a contributor for @everydayafrica on Instagram and has recently founded Center for Photography in Ethiopia (CPE), a learning and discussion platform for Ethiopian Photographers.

Maheder has been working for wires and major news organizations such as AFP, Reuters, Getty Images, Le Monde and Der Spiegel. Maheder recently curated the photography exhibition titled Baxxe:Home and has also co-edited a photography publication titled Against Gravity. Her works has been shown in numerous exhibitions around the world.

Website | Instagram