By Patrick Fancher |

Kendra Sharp took many photos during a trip last December to Gondar and other cities throughout Ethiopia, but when it came time to decide which ones to display at Interzone coffee shop’s monthly art show, she knew which 10 she wanted.

“I looked for photos that represented the beauty of culture and that painted Africa in a positive light.” Sharp said in a recent interview with The E.

Her photos are on display at Interzone, 1563 N.W. Monroe Ave.

She said she enjoys taking portraits of people, and that Ethiopian culture has a strong orthodox Christian presence. It’s common to see crosses and other religious symbols, and there is a significant Muslim population as well.

“Three of the photos are from a group of men going to work. One was wearing a Bible, written in Amharic, the local language. He was carrying that in a leather case around his neck.” Sharp said.

She chose those pictures because they were representative of what she had seen along the road outside of the capital, Addis Adaba.

Sharp was conducting field work for the university as part of her role as faculty lead in the new humanitarian engineering program. She also took the trip on behalf of the Corvallis-Gondar Sister Cities Association.

The association’s website says its mission is to collaborate with the people of Gondar to develop sustainable solutions and promote cultural awareness, respect and understanding.

Sharp said there has been a lot of activity between the two cities, including fundraising for projects in Ethiopia. Sharp helped organize a cultural exchange between students in both cities.

Earlier in the year, Portland photographer Joni Kabana shared pictures from her various trips to Africa with a group of children in Corvallis. The Corvallis kids submitted their pictures of themselves and other things for small photo books given as gifts to students in Gondar. The pictures were taken to show some of the commonalities between what it’s like to be a kid in Corvallis and what it’s like to be a kid in Gondar, Sharp said.

Kabana accompanied Sharp on the December trip to Gondar, where they showed a group of 20 students how to use cameras. The second part of the exchange is to have kids in Gondar take pictures and send them to kids in Corvallis.

Sharp said some of the photos hanging on the wall at Interzone were taken during their visit to the school, including one with three girls holding cameras in their hands.

Sharp and Kabana also participated in the philanthropic activity called Prints for Prints while in Ethiopia. Prints for Prints is a volunteer-run organization that auctions donated prints from photographers all over the world. All of the proceeds go to help create makeshift photo studios in rural villages.

Source: Corvallis Gazette-Times
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