The Houses of Halaba
Where artfully painted walls draw interest from both near and far.
In the small, southern Ethiopian farming community known as Halaba, residents don’t just wear their hearts on their sleeves — they adorn their homes accordingly.
No one seems to be quite sure when the tradition began, but for years most buildings in the town have been painted to display what individual townspeople hold most dear — from professions and faith to even dreams for the future.
Take, for example, the bus one woman painted on her home, expressing her hope to one day buy a vehicle in which to drive passengers and supplant her farming income. Or the lion seen on many buildings, a symbol prominent in Ethiopian history.
Made from natural pigments, the paints used are mostly black, white and red, though other vibrant, less-traditional colors have also found their way into the mix. But whatever the hues or designs involved, the painted homes of Halaba have both aesthetic and storytelling value — elevating this small farming town into something of a national art attraction.