Scramble for the Sky (2016) [A photographic series of 35 untitled 40"x50" Pigment prints] In the unfinished stairwells of the concrete skeletons rising from the street, men and women haul loads of bricks on their backs, carefully ascending dozens of stories into the air. Step by step, these citizens are building a new Ethiopia. I have been photographing there since 1999. Over the past few years, constant pinging – metal against metal, the sound of immense infrastructure projects and gleaming new skyscrapers under construction – has become ever-present. While Ethiopia’s economy expands, this construction has displaced the poor and middle classes, and silenced dissent. One successful Ethiopian entrepreneur candidly described it like this: “Democracy is important but we need to build an economy; and free speech can be a real obstacle.” And still the workers march, carrying bricks up, up. Do they know what they are building? What is the relationship between these new physical and political-economic landscapes? What lurks behind the artificial façades of polished glass? Is the prosperity promised by post-colonial capitalism real or is it a mirage? I aim to portray the complexity of this moment in Ethiopia’s development. For several months, as part of The Oromaye Projects – in which I have been adapting a 1984 Amharic novel to explore historical and current structures of authority in Ethiopia – I photographed construction sites, sometimes at the top of tall buildings, and witnessed the new Scramble for Africa: the Scramble for the Sky.