Streets of Addis By Girma Berta


Girma Berta is a dynamic young artist based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia whose work infuses street photography with fine art.  Born in Addis Ababa in 1990, Berta studied Information Technology graduating in 2009. As a self-taught artist, his drive is to tell the everyday stories of his community. His most distinctive style is demonstrated in the Moving Shadows Series, where cutouts of street laborers and ordinary people are set against a backdrop of colour, illustrating his mastery of capturing poignant moments of everyday life and offering an imagined interpretation of everyday situations.

Berta has used Instagram as a platform to share his images with the rest of the world and has a loyal following of over 17500. His work has been featured in The Guardian, Okay Africa, Design Indaba and Art Africa. Exhibitions include, PhotoVille NY (2015), Bamako Photo Fest (2015), Look3 Festival, NY (2016).

Girma Berta takes photographs of his home Addis Ababa and has collected them into a series called “Streets of Addis”. With a background in painting and graphic design, Berta has an eye for colour and composition and a strong attraction to the realities of the city around him. He uses Instagram as a platform to share his creativity.

When the series began, Berta was taking photos with his IPhone and would often leave them free of any captions – leaving it for the viewer to make up their own stories about the urban muses that appear in the shots. Everyone who knows Addis Ababa sees their own memories in the image and those who don’t know the city will make up their own story.

Bold colours, street grundge and black and white images are all ways in which Berta tells his visual stories, often creating distinctive cut-outs of working people on the street.

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Berta’s work has been featured on the Guardian and included in Photoville, New York in 2015 and at PhotoFest in Bamako, Mali. He is the founder of GBOX Creative Studios, a studio specialising in advertising, branding and web design in Addis Ababa.

His  images in “Streets of Addis” tell the real story of Addis Ababa: beautiful, ugly, busy and without the tourist spin. It glorifies the everyday, turning moments that even the local people have stopped noticing into art.