Dawit N.M.: A Premiere Visual Artist With An Eclectic Approach In Documenting The Voiceless

No selfies..

Having an incredible eye for photo is one thing. Having an incredible eye for humanity, is another..

The art of photography is one that is by far the most pivotal, provocative, and necessary form of expression. Dating back to earlier times where we didn’t have much video capability or social media to bring awareness to all that takes place around the world, mankind has always depended on photography and photo-journalists to tell the stories that would one day create history.

History is something that we create and neglect every single day– whether it be impactful amongst nations, or influential to the culture in which we subscribe. Ethiopian/American visual artist Dawit N.M. is a creative that has taken photo-journalism into his hands as a duty to document “history,” and alter our perspectives of it, especially as it pertains to third-world countries and areas of destitute. His knack for vintage quality with urban feels has made his work distinctive, and the irony is that he first picked up a camera as a coping mechanism.

Whether it be through film or photography, Dawit wants to show that there are more to those considered “voiceless,” and the lands in which they dwell.

He has allowed the EDL team to showcase a few of his recent works, which are featured in his latest catalogue, “Don’t Make Me Look Like the Kids on TV. See below for his art, and purchase his work via dawit.co/store.

As I was preparing to take my little cousin’s photo he jokingly said to me, “Don’t Make Me Look Like the Kids on TV,” stunned by this, I decided that I would compile all the photos I had taken during my stay in Ethiopia into a project and make sure people saw a different story. A real story. 
 
Due to the state of emergency (a response to the anti-government protests) that the country was in, I was limited to mostly taking photos outside of taxis or in private areas and with a $10 point-and-shoot film camera because of worry that my digital camera would cause too much attention, especially from the police. Luckily, I was still able to capture the beauty, freshness, and youthfulness of Ethiopia and her people. I also added scans of old family photos (most likely taken with the same camera I used during my stay)to make it more personal.
 
Weaving new photos together with the old made it seem as if time was never linear. Without knowing it, the project became a personal journey through space and time in Ethiopia; a self-reflection on my life and identity while still contrasting the out-dated and awfully misleading images of Ethiopia. 
 
It is unfortunate to know that many people are constantly being shown a false depiction of Ethiopia and other foreign countries. I hope with this project I can play a part in changing the thoughts and assumptions of Ethiopia and Africa as a whole.
-Dawit N.M.

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