Most people define Ethiopia as a country located in the northeast of Africa, with 19 million people, much of the nation faces famine and dispute. However, Park Nohae, a poet and a photographer, views Ethiopia from a somewhat different perspective and expressed the country through beautiful photographs. According to Park, Ethiopia is the lifeline and pride of Africa, and its people are descendants of Aksum Dynasty. Thus, Ethiopia fills his camera lens with warmth, just like yellow forsythia or a baby chick. Why not comfort your weathered mind and body by attending his photo exhibition, A Blooming Step?
BEFORE RUSHING OFF TO THE EXHIBITION,
Before looking around the photo exhibition, you should get to know about Park Nohae and the location the exhibition takes place in. Many people might ponder the relevance of Park Nohae’s exhibition, thinking, “Is there another Park Nohae?” In fact, the poet himself is holding his own exhibition. If you’ve spent your school days in Korea, you’ll be quite familiar with Park Nohae since there are lots of opportunities to encounter his literary work during Korean class. In the past, he usually wrote poetry depicting participation in events such as The Dawn of Labor, but recently, he has entered various other fields. Moreover, the profits from his exhibition are used to feed children suffering from starvation. Meanwhile, Ra Café Gallery, where the exhibition is taking place, is a cultural space run by the nonprofit social organization, Nanum-munhwa. Currently, it is not only being used as a café but also as an exhibition hall. Sales at the café are also donated to Nanum-munhwa, to support peacekeeping activities.
WHEN DAWN BECOMES DIM
It is often easy to think of coffee, when thinking of Ethiopia, as it is a huge producer of coffee, and the largest in Africa. In fact, the exhibition also shows Ethiopia greeting the morning sun with a cup of coffee. The exhibition shows every Ethiopian mornings of starting with the fragrant of coffee in Bunna (coffee) ceremony. Mother boils the coffee, grandma tells her grandchildren fairy tales. Drinking a cup of fellowship, a cup of peace and a cup of bless, they leave for work. When looking at the photo of the seemingly-endless walk to draw water from a well, the tenaciousness of Ethiopians and the healthiness of their labor can be felt.
VITALITY BURSTS DURING THE DAYTIME
As told above, Ethiopians are the descendant of Aksum Dynasty. Even though general people may not know the dynasty, it is the root of Ethiopian people in regard to their history, religion, and language, and the dynasty dates back to about 4th century B.C. People of that dynasty had the courage and backbone, and were undauntedly by the constraints of the land, such as the desert or the ocean. These traits can still be found in Ethiopians today. The main photograph of this article shows the procession of people going to a marketplace by crossing a rugged mountain rage of children placing firewood, on their heads which is much heavier than the children themselves, create the illusion of an Aksum Dynasty revival. Meanwhile, Ethiopians usually maintain their livelihood through Mother Nature. Another photograph at the exhibition shows a person fishing at the large Lake Tana, where the Nile River starts. The sole floating boat on the vast lake makes one feel the solitary of the moment and voidness for some reason. However, at the same time, the dynamics of life can be found in the hands of diligently working fisher.
TRANQUILITY CASTS A STARRY NIGHT
As night draws near, the scene of people walking through the darkness following starlight differs greatly from our home neighborhoods. Unlike people living under neon signs and electronic boards that flash 24 hours a day, the nights of Ethiopians are calm and peaceful. Appreciating these photographs, everyone will feel the beauty of harmony between Mother Nature and humans. Watching a shepherd returning home by starlight, Park Nohae said,
“People walk to find their inner light by going against the showy lights of a mundane existence.
People walk every day towards you like the light of love by burning oneself to the last.”