The 3rd episode of Selam Talks, a platform that Selam Ethiopia has been hosting by inviting panelists from all over the country and abroad, to address different issues in the country, was held on Wednesday February 22, 2023 at the Embassy of Sweden on ‘’The Status of Artistic Freedom in Ethiopia’’.
The panel discussion was based on a research conducted under a similar topic. The research points out that though the overall practice of artistic freedom in Ethiopia is promising, financial constraints, limited human capacity, lack of equipment and facilities, lack of recognition from the government, and insecurity are first top five challenges for artistic freedom that have been stated in the study. The study also indicates that most of the artists in the sector work on amateur basis and have no direct and relevant educational background, which could affect artistic freedom. Regarding the opportunities for artistic freedom, the findings show that there exists high commitment level of artists, readiness of the government to support art industries, large size of users of art’s outputs and the expansion of social media platforms to disseminate art works.
Attendees cited constraints not only from the government but also societal, religious etc as limitations to practicing artistic freedom. Tribalism and lack of art education by qualified professionals were also mentioned as something that affects the arts. When it comes to circus, it was said that there is a big gender imbalance and artistic freedom should also be seen from the perspective of gender. The issue of copy right was said to be one of the biggest challenges when it comes to music. Financial constraint to do artistic work and the lack of financial benefit for artists has also been repeatedly mentioned as the biggest challenges in the arts sector.
The panel discussion was attended by about 50 people from the arts, Government officials, professional associations, media and different bodies.