Born in Ethiopia in 1974, Aida Muluneh has since lived around the world – from Yemen to the United Kingdom to Cyprus, Canada and the United States. In 2000, she graduated with a degree in Film from Howard University in Washington D.C., then she worked as a photojournalist as the Washington Post.
For Muluneh, “the problems of this world are a manifestation of the deterioration of our societies and the obsession of our own mortality. Some of us believe in God, some of us believe in spirituality, some of us believe in money, some of us believe in fame and so forth.”
She prompts viewers to ask difficult questions about human existence and to break a pattern of passivity. Through her work she asks, “does anyone even dream of a better world or have we grown comfortable in accepting the nightmare as a reality?” She is unafraid to criticize inaction towards social inequality, using the body to conjure the metaphor of an internal moral split and ask “which wolf are we feeding?”
“I can’t help but be drawn to these battles that we encounter within ourselves because I believe that the moral decay we face in this generation can only lead to our own extinction”
Her photographs were exhibited in the ikauru exhibition at UNISA, Pretoria and in FANTASTIC at the Michaelis Art Gallery in Cape Town and she visited the 2015 Joburg Art Fair.
Muluneh is the 2007 recipient of the European Union Prize in the Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie, in Bamako, Mali, as well as the 2010 winner of the CRAF International Award of Photography in Spilimbergo, Italy. Her work can be found in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, the Museum of Biblical Art and Hood Museum in the United States, as well as the Sindika Dokolo Foundation in Berlin. Her book, published by Africalia in Brussels is titled “Ethiopia: Past/Forward”. It reflects her vision on reconnecting to Ethiopia through memory and nostalgia.
Muluneh is the founder and director of the first international photography festival in Ethiopia, the Addis Foto Fest, as well as Fana Wogi, a yearly open call supporting contemporary artists in Ethiopia. Aida continues to curate and develop cultural projects with local and international institutions through her company DESTA (Developing and Educating Society Through Art) For Africa Creative Consulting PLC (DFA) in Addis Ababa.