GOJO: an invitation to gather

Locale : 17h00
Paris : 15h00
Alliance Ethio-française, Addis Ababa, ET
Amharic / English


Informed by our varied yet interconnected lived experiences of the global pandemic and consequent disruptions in Ethiopia, GOJO proposes to organize an immersive and intersecting experience designed to explore emerging interpretations of closeness within the 2020 backdrop.
The evening is an invitation to engage with our diverse community members through a series of dialogue and experiential activities. We choose to implement a process-driven curatorial approach that centers the audience at the core of the evening’s activities. These activities are divided into « gojos », meaning nest in Amharic, each of them interrogating the theme of the evening through a specific entry point. The gojos are intended to be generative exercises, prompting participants to pull from their personal experiences and become part of a process in imagining a new genre of « closeness » informed by our shared and individual experiences of the past year.


The gojos are designed to explore closeness through the following themes:
-Space: gojo led by Kuncho Design and Yasmin Abdu Bushra
Prompt: what common identities of spaces facilitate a safe and comfortable public gathering. What characters of a space prompt authentic connection with our neighbours and people that surround us?
-Body: gojo led by Doctors in Action
Prompt: how did the pandemic bring us closer to understanding our bodies.
– Food: gojo led by street vendors
Prompt: designed as a social experiment – the evening’s discussion engages street vendors lining the streets of Alliance into the conversation of visibility + achknowledgment. Raising the question of how much our audience conversed and interacted with these vendors as a leading question, we’ll address how the vendors experienced changes to the fabric of street life during the pandemic and protest, and if these changes became a gate- way to a closer relationship with the community they’re rooted in.
-Family: gojo led by photographer Mekbib Tadesse
Prompt: through a guided walk across the gallery, this exhibition shows the family portraits taken by the artist during the pandemic. The audience is invited to meet the stranger at home, to discuss and articulate the confrontational elements in the portrait media.
-Language: gojo led by « Stories from the Room
Prompt: write a letter (the prompt is open: you can describe your current state, tell someone how much you miss them, remember a fond memory, etc.).

On top of the Gojos (discussion circles), the evening will feature:
– an exhibition: the clusters will host their discussion circles within a live exhibition installed in the gallery space. The exhibition will showcase a collection of works that explore the meaning and function of a home. Within the exhibition, we use homemaking practices as an entry point to probe at the concept of closeness.
– screenings (inside the cinema): screen videos highlighting efforts by social enterprises (Ayanna Publishing + Doctors in Action) on community engagement, by making available context based solutions to the multi-faceted disruption brought forth by the pandemic.


Upon entering the event, the audience chooses three gojos they are interested in exploring as well as an order to follow along with the welcome flyer. Gojo leaders will host timed activities, each 20 min long to discuss and digest the interpretation of closeness as seen through these five lenses. We will have a 10-minute intermission between each round, allowing the audience to circulate from one circle into another.
We’ll conclude the discussion with a wrap-up session, where discussing from all gojos come together, to collectively marinate the shared outlooks of the evening.