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      Opening Day Celebration

      Ethiopia at the Crossroads

      Ethiopia at the Crossroads Opening Day

      Know before you go

      In-person event
      Location: Create Space Studios + Morse Auditorium

      Included with admission

      Join us in celebrating the opening of Ethiopia at the Crossroads, which explores nearly 2,000 years of Ethiopian art, culture and trade. Featuring illuminated manuscripts, metalwork and carvings in conversation with vibrant prints and sculpture by contemporary Ethiopian artists, it is the first major American exhibition to examine Ethiopian art in a global context.

      Explore Ethiopian artworks and culture hands-on through a special drop-in art making activity inspired by the exhibition, along with curator-led tours and a special musical performance by dragonchild.

      Curator-Led Tour of Ethiopia at the Crossroads
      11 am | Ethiopia exhibition gallery
      Same day tickets required, limited availability. Tickets available at the Information desk.

      Learn about the exhibition from Christine Sciacca, Curator of European Art, 300-1400 CE at the Walters Art Museum (where the exhibition was previously on view), and PEM curators Karen Kramer and Lydia Peabody.

      Drop-in Art Making: Customized Crowns
      12–3 pm | Create Space Studios

      Throughout Ethiopian history, high-ranking officials and royalty have worn spectacular crowns featuring symbols and motifs that relate to the wearers' ranking, dynasty, style and more. Crowns and headdresses can tell us different stories about the people who wore them. If you had a crown designed specially for you, what stories would you want it to tell? Make your own paper crown and adorn it with decorations that reflect your identity, culture and style. Wear your personal story with pride!

      Musical Performance: dragonchild
      2 pm | Morse Auditorium
      Same-day tickets required; capacity is limited. Tickets available at the Information desk.

      Ethiopian-American musician D.A. Mekonnen will present the regional premiere of dragonchild’s Monument Eternal – Performance & Visual Album.

      Conceived and transmitted by D.A. Mekonnen, dragonchild is an expression of ecogrief and a celebration of Ancestral (sonic) creation — a culmination of decades of musical experimentation, embodied spiritual practice and critical thinking. Released in spring 2023 on FPE Records, their debut record BLACK is the monumental result of that exploration: four one-sided albums, designed to be played simultaneously, creating an immersive and disorienting swarm of sound.

      About our collaborators

      Christine Sciacca

      Christine Sciacca is the Curator of European Art, 300-1400 CE at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. She received her Ph.D., M.Phil., and M.A. in Art History from Columbia University, and a B.A. in Art History from Cornell University. She was previously a curator of illuminated manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and has worked at the Met Cloisters and the British Library. Her research concentrates on Italian, German and Ethiopian medieval art, with a focus on liturgy, devotional practice and patronage.

      D.A. Mekonnen

      Growing up in Texas as a Sudanese-born, first generation Ethiopian-American, D.A. Mekonnen often heard traditional Ethiopian instrumental and vocal recordings around his home and in his community. After becoming an accomplished saxophonist, he sought out master Ethiopian musicians to learn to play the folk instruments of his heritage. Mekonnen co-founded and directed Debo Band, whose groundbreaking take on Ethiopian music has lead to performances at the Montreal Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Lincoln Center, South by Southwest, Sauti za Busara (Zanzibar) and the Ethiopian Music(s) Festival (Addis Ababa), to name a few. He also served as the director of the Nile Project, an ensemble of musicians from the 11 countries of the Nile Basin. From 2015–2023, he was an active member of the Silkroad Ensemble and worked alongside Silkroad Founder Yo-Yo Ma and current Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens. Mekonnen has an M.A. in ethnomusicology from Harvard University, where he researched Ethiopian popular music of the 1960s–1970s.

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