The Patriots Story

“The Patriot Story” is a portrait series that tells the rarely told stories of the living Ethiopian Patriots, who proudly fought against the Italian army during the five-year occupation (1935-1941) in Ethiopia under the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini.

Featuring: Aron Simeneh

Presented by

United Photo Industries

Curated by

James Estrin and David Gonzalez, Co-Editors of the New York Times Lens Blog

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Support by

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“The Patriot Story” is a portrait series that tells the rarely told stories of the living Ethiopian Patriots, who proudly fought against the Italian army during the five-year occupation (1935-1941) in Ethiopia under the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini.

The inspiration for this series was my own grandfather, who took part in the patriotic resistance. I grew up listening to the endless stories he had, but became concerned that few others were hearing this rich and beautiful history of liberation. It became clear that if his story and others like his are not documented, we will lose them forever and lose the source of pride in our history that so many Ethiopians rejoice in.

In Ethiopia, on the day we celebrate our Patriots, I am now able to hear about the incredibly heroic stories of the men and women who put their lives on the line to fight against the last Europeans who tried to colonize Ethiopia, which remains an unconquered nation.

I was fortunate enough to take these heroes’ portraits and to bear witness to the pride they still proudly wear. This series is a salute to our forefathers and foremothers, the warriors who fought and died for our sacred freedom and liberated the heart of our country. This is their story!

ARTIST BIO

Aron Simeneh is a young, Ethiopian freelance photographer based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His work mainly consists of portraits and documentary photography. For the past three years, Simeneh has been under the mentorship of Aida Muluneh, an international award-winning photographer. In addition, Simeneh has also trained at the prestigious Nuku Studio in Accra, Ghana, which was led by acclaimed, Ghanian photographer Nii Obodai. Simeneh’s work focuses on revealing and portraying the untold stories around him and finding a new way to display his country’s unique music and culture. Simeneh was part of a collective of local Ethiopian photographers under the name PIE (Photography in Ethiopia). Through the work he produced within this collective, Simeneh was able to showcase his works at incredibly notable exhibitions such as Photoville, the 1:54 Art Fair in London, and two of Africa’s most prominent photography festivals—the Bamako Biennial in Mali, and the Joburg Art Fair in South Africa, which was curated by Aida Muluneh. Simeneh had his first solo exhibition, featuring his take on traditional Ethiopian dances titled, “Still in Motion,” and received second place in the 2016 Addis Foto Fest portfolio review. Most recently, Simeneh was invited to participate in the esteemed New York Portfolio Review.

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