Walk the Mile – the SLOW MARATHON art-project by Mihret Kebede

In 2011 two curators from Scotland-based Deveron-Arts visited Addis Ababa. They were on the outlook for artists they could invite to their small village of Huntly in Aberdeenshire, centre of their artistic programming. And they found what they were looking for. In the outskirts of town, in the oasis of Netsa Art Village, Mihret Kebede has been working together with 17 other artists for a couple of years now. She caught the attention of the curators, and was invited for a three months residency in Scotland in the beginning of 2012.

For Deveron Arts the town is the venue. Huntly is thus the gallery, the studio, and the scene for a variety of artistic disciplines, performed by artists from all over the world. There is no such thing as a fixed venue as supermarkets, churches, garages and whatever comes into mind are used for working and exhibiting purposes. The reason for this has to do with social and community-related aspects of the Deveron-Arts perspective; it is crucial for them to engage the people of Huntly as well as people from the countries of the artists in the arts.











Mihret’s project SLOW MARATHON engages both the town and the community in a natural and subtle manner. As the name suggest the project has to do with walking a marathon. Mihret is far from home, and between ‘home’ and Huntly are loads of countries that she will never walk or experience. She would have liked to walk from Ethiopia to Scotland and back again, but for several reasons this would be a next to impossible journey. So instead she asks her two local communities in Huntly and Addis to assist her walking the 5850 miles each way.

5850 miles corresponds to 225 marathons. The distance can thus be completed if a total of 225 people from each town walk a marathon of 26 miles. Two parallel walking events are set up to help Mihret walk the distance.

But while Addis is a big city, Huntly is very small – in fact the population of Scotland and Addis are somewhat the same – and in Scotland the event is supported by an accumulative Marathon. Apart from the people who will walk the full marathon, on the accumulative people can register and donate their miles online, whenever they wish. On that account, more than 100 marathons from people all over has already been generated.











Shoelaces makes friends
In addition to the actual walking SLOW MARATHON aims to create relations between the participants in Huntly and Addis. When people register they must bring a passport photo and their old shoelaces. A tag with name and email address will be attached to the shoelaces, and the total of 225 shoelaces will be sent from one town to the other. Each participant will then walk with shoelaces from a participant from the other side of the globe, and eventually have the opportunity to use the email-address and start a communication with their fellow participant.

After the walks a six by three size canvas will be mounted with photos and names to create a mapping of all the participants. The map will also feature the multi world-record holder Haile Gebre Selassie who will join the walkers in Addis.


Do you want to support Mihret in her journey, walk with Haile Gebre-Selassie, and maybe gain a new friend on the other side of the globe?? Then sign up for the SLOW MARATHON that will take place in Huntly on March 17 and in Addis on March 18. Registration is 50 birr and can be done at ROMINA Café in Arat Kilo, the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts at Addis Ababa University, and in Netsa Art Village.

You can contact Helen Zeru (0911953366) or Mifta Zekele (0911702953) for questions and more info, or look at Deveron Arts website: www.deveron-arts.com





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