African Film Institute Film Series: Sosena Solomon, Mpho Matsipa

African Film Institute Film Series: Sosena Solomon, Mpho Matsipa

Sosena Solomon, Merkato (still)2013.

The African Film Institute

African Film Institute Film Series: Sosena Solomon, Mpho Matsipa

Admission starts at $5

March 19, 2024, 7pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

The African Film Institute is pleased to invite you to e-flux Screening Room on Tuesday, March 19, at 7pm for a screening of Merkato by Ethiopian-American filmmaker Sosena Solomon followed by a conversation between Solomon, designer and urban scholar/theorist Mpho Matsipa, and anthropologist Natacha Nsabimana. The event is organized as part of the film series curated by Nsabimana for the  African Film Institute and e-flux Screening Room.

Taking a cue from the practice of an evening school as proposed by Christian Nyampeta’s Ecole Du Soir, Nsabimana invites filmmakers, artists, and scholars for a meditation and conversations around “African Cinema,” unfolding at e-flux Screening Room over the course of twelve months. What does the formulation evoke for us today? Is it worth holding onto? For whom? Comprised of a series of viewings sometimes followed by conversations, the curation will include feature films, shorts, and documentaries.

Solomon’s Merkato is a documentary tracing the lives of four people as they navigate the demands of life and work in one of the biggest markets in Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Filmed on location in Merkato, before a radical architectural transformation, Solomon’s documentary invites us to ask expansive questions about space, architecture, transition, and preservation.

Sosena Solomon, Merkato (2013, 18 minutes)
Merkato journeys through the largest open-air market in Africa, documenting the daily lives of four merchants and their interconnected relationship with the market. These visually gripping, poetically felt portraits illuminate the fragile  and universal nature of the human condition. The film explores the living testimonies of Hawa, the oldest woman working in Merkato; Gideon, an ex-gang member looking for redemption; Ashenafi, a young dreamer learning how to make it; and Wurro, a young woman responsible for her own success. As their livelihoods are on the verge of being transformed by incoming strip malls and parking lots, this social documentary is a tribute and celebration of the people who live, work, and dream in Merkato.

For inquiries addressed to the African Film Institute, please write to

For general and press inquiries, contact

–Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue. 
–For elevator access, please RSVP to The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space. 
–e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Film, Globalization, Urbanism, Architecture
Documentary, Africa
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The African Film Institute

Sosena Solomon is an Ethiopian-American social documentary film and multimedia visual artist whose work explores cross-sections of various subcultures and communities in flux, carefully teasing out cultural nuances and capturing personal narratives through arresting visual storytelling. Solomon has worked for many years in the commercial and nonprofit sectors as a director and cinematographer on many short film projects, including Dreaming of Jerusalem, a Discovery-plus original documentary about the Ethiopian-Jewish community in Gondar, and Merkato, filmed on location in one of Africa’s largest open-air markets and exhibited internationally as an audio, visual, and sensory installation. She has exhibited work at the Sundance Film Festival, Cinema Africa, Tribeca, and DOC NYC. She earned her BA in Television Production from Temple University and her MFA in Social Documentary film from the School of Visual Arts. Solomon is currently lecturing in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design, and working with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to create new digital and in-gallery content that will reframe the Museum’s African art galleries.

Mpho Matsipa is an educator, researcher, and independent curator.  Matsipa holds a PhD in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, pursued as a Fulbright Scholar. She has curated several exhibitions, discursive platforms, and experimental architectural research including the Venice International Architecture Biennale (2008; 2021); African Mobilities at the Architecture Museum, Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich (2018); and Studio-X Johannesburg, in South Africa (2014-2016). Her curatorial and research interests are at the intersection of urban studies, experimental architecture, and visual art. Mpho is an associate curator for the Lubumbashi Biennale, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2024) and she teaches History and Theory at SCI-Arc.

Natacha Nsabimana teaches in the anthropology department at the university of Chicago. Her research and teaching interests include postcolonial critique, musical movements, and the cultural and political worlds of African peoples on the continent and in the diaspora.

The African Film Institute aims to create a home and a place of intimacy with African cinema in New York, through developing gradually and organically a viewing program animated by fellowships; a growing library; an active writers’ room; and an expanding catalog of recorded dialogs. The African Film Institute draws from the visual cultures that view cinema as an evening school: a popular information system in the service of education, aesthetic experience, and public dissemination—employing a methodology concerning the use of cinema’s collective production, and investing in viewing methods informed by different uses of time, visual and textual histories, and social struggles and hopes in mutuality between their own locality and the world at large. The African Film Institute is convened by Christian Nyampeta and hosted by e-flux Screening Room.

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