The immersive exhibition “Lalibela: Carving Faith”, exploring multiple dimensions of the site of Lalibela, was inaugurated on Thursday October 6, at the Entoto Fine Arts Center. It is the result of a long term scientific cooperation between France and Ethiopia that leads to a unique experience enriched by scientific knowledge. The exhibition was developed by Ethiopian and French experts from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and is co-financed by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and CNRS.
In this exhibition, spectators are invited to a unique experience to explore the site through innovative technologies, such as augmented reality and high definition films.
Based on long-term research, using 3D data of the churches and the site, “Lalibela: Carving Faith” addresses the different dimensions of Lalibela, from its daily life and religious wealth to its glorious past and transformations along the time to the present. Combining the scientific data and digital information developed by CNRS and local knowledge, the exhibition was co- financed with a 37 million Birr grant from AFD.
This exhibition was developed in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ethiopian Heritage Conservation Authority, Archeovision, the French Center for Ethiopian Studies (CFEE), the communities of Lalibela and the Monastery Administration Office of Lalibela’s Churches.
Supporting Lalibela site preservation
Beyond this event, AFD is supporting another project that aim at developing capacities of preservation and promotion of Lalibela heritage. Sustainable Lalibela is developed by the CNRS and CFEE through a 174 million Birr grant. CNRS is carrying out emergency conservation activities, archaeological research, digitization of manuscripts and collections, database on the tangible heritage of Lalibela, and capacity building for heritage conservation and management in the country.
“We are very proud to support these complementary projects and open this exhibition today. Our purpose is to support Ethiopian authorities to preserve and promote their unique heritage. We benefit here from a long-term cooperation between scientific researchers and specialists. Through this multiple support, France is committed to contributing to the preservation of the historical and cultural heritage of Lalibela, and to the development of its heritage authority’s capacities. Heritage can be lever for the development of the country, as France is experiencing for centuries now”, said Valérie Tehio, AFD country director in Ethiopia.