In 2009 Philip Cowan, film lecturer at Wales International Film School, invited our Film Development Workers Tracy Pallant and Amy Peckham to work with him and Gem TV on a documentary about historical artefacts being lost and stolen from Ethiopia. The idea came from our partners in Ethiopia, Gem TV, when they were doing research for their feature film:
‘During the last several hundred years, thousands of manuscripts and other national treasures, including gold and silver crosses and even a giant stelae from Axum have left Ethiopia as ‘souvenirs’. Today tourists, antique dealers, professional thieves and even diplomats are responsible for the disappearance of works of art. If this is allowed to continue it is thought that Ethiopia could be bereft of most of her treasures by 2020.’
Tracy, Amy and Philip travelled to Konso in Southern Ethiopia where many of their wooden burial sculptures have been stolen. Their film Reflections of Ethiopia follows this journey and explores the relationship of a land, its culture, identity and people.