In the exhibition OUANSA REVISITED presented by GALLERY LISTROS in 2013, Ethiopian artist Robel Temesgen contributed the video "FotograF", dealing with the difficulties the Listro ( Ethiopian shoe shiners ) encounter in their work life.
More Information on Robel Temesgen: robeltemesgen.weebly.com
In his statement to the video, Robel Temesgen wrote:
DO NOT PAY IF A RECEIPT IS ISSUED
In the city of Addis Abeba the text ‘DO NOT PAY IF A RECEIPT IS NOT ISSUED’ both in English and Amharic is common in many commercial places, and authorities are serious on monitoring commercial licenses, cash register machines, daily reports, and receipts on every level.
Small shops, food stalls, kiosks, cafeterias, all are obliged to obtain commercial licenses which includes buying a cash register machine they often can’t afford even if they sell well. In the case of Listros - as part of street vendors’ day to day activity in the Addis Abeba - try to imagining them with the ‘DO NOT PAY IF A RECEIPT IS NOT ISSUED’ text, license and cash register machine as if they are supposed to have those since they run ‘business’ in the city.
The video “Listro FotograF” is taken at Arat Kilo, a lively area in Addis Abeba. A mobile Listro, Yohannes, who has no specific place to work, finally agreed to be filmed after many of the other Listro boys in the streets denied.
The original idea for a video includes a cash register machine. But as a matter of fact I was unable to access a cash register machine even for half an hour. It is not due to unavailability, but the timing of supervisors visiting a specific business center is always unpredictable, and if a cash register machine were removed from the original location, then the trouble would be on the owner and of course on me.
Since I have no plan getting into trouble,
I decided to change the performance to “DO NOT PAY IF A RECEIPT IS ISSUED”.
Video "FotograF", 2013 - Copyright Robel Temesgen
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