Ethiopian Photographer Aida Muluneh’s The World is 9 was her first solo exhibition with David Krut Projects. Consisting of 28 photographs, the show’s title comes from an expression that Muluneh’s grandmother had frequently used: “the world is 9, it is never complete and never perfect.”
Aida Muluneh: The World is 9
“The World is 9” embraces the artistic possibilities of photography. Muluneh’s stylized portraiture and art directed backgrounds reference her native history and culture in a surrealistic manner.
“I am not seeking answers but asking provocative questions about the life that we live—as people, as nations, as beings,” she says in the exhibition catalog. “I have chosen to continue working on body painting, which is inspired by traditional body art from across Africa. Each work is a reflection of conscious and sub-conscious manifestations of time and space.”
“I have chosen to continue working on body painting, which is inspired by traditional body art from across Africa. Each work is a reflection of conscious and sub-conscious manifestations of time and space.”
— Aida Muluneh
The David Krut Projects booth at the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York featured Muluneh’s work last May.
“I’m trying to make art digestible, no matter whether you’re a bourgeois blah blah or someone from any other spectrum of society,” Muluneh told ARTnews. “I also want to make Africa digestible in a different way. When people think about Africa right now, they often only think about animals, war, and famine. I’m trying to distort that impression to provoke questions in a different sense.”
David Krut Projects presents The World is 9, Ethiopian artist Aïda Muluneh’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition consists of a selection of images from a brand new series of photographic works in which Muluneh questions life, love, history, and whether we can live in this world with full contentment. “I am not seeking answers but asking provocative questions about the life that we live – as people, as nations, as beings.”
The images from the exhibition shown in this post are each archival digital photographs produced in a limited number of 7 editions and measuring 80cm x 80cm.
Born in Ethiopia in 1974, Aïda left the country at a young age and spent an itinerant childhood between Yemen and England. After several years in a boarding school in Cyprus, she finally settled in Canada in 1985. In 2000, she graduated with a degree from the Communication Department with a major in Film from Howard University in Washington, D.C. After graduation she worked as a photojournalist at the Washington Post, however her work can be found in several publications. Also as an exhibiting artist, a collection of her images can be found in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and the Museum of Biblical Art in the United State. She 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. She also has a book published by Africlia in Brussels, Belgium, titled “Ethiopia: Past/Forward” which is a coffee table book that reflects her vision on reconnecting to Ethiopia through memory and nostalgia. She is also the founder and director of the first international photography festival 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.
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a special thanks to Evelyn Morris Hecht for bringing this beautiful work to my attention