Aïda Muluneh

I am not seeking answers but asking provocative questions about the life that we live – as people, as nations, as beings.

...the world is 9, it is never complete and never perfect.

—  Aïda Muluneh's quote about the title of her exhibition, "The World is 9", which comes from an expression that Muluneh’s grandmother had repeated. Excerpted from David Krut Press Release.

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 Exhibition photos from MoMA's Being: New Photography 2018. Pictures by Jenkin Johnson Gallery.

What is most striking about Aïda’s World is 9 series is perhaps the comment that we hear most about "Fragments", which is the surprise that it is not a painting. The mistaken identification of the medium speaks to how different her practice is - from the vibrant primary colors, sharp geometric shapes, and powerful figures, the worlds she builds is most often ascribed to a painting than a photograph.

The representation of figures furthers the point by breaking away from photography as a medium for ethnographical means by bringing agency to the characters created in her world.

Through her practice, Aïda seeks to subvert expectations by both “taking the past to the future” to help shape a new vision of the continent and figure out “what we want to say, how...we want to say it, and to whom are we addressing this.” In this, she takes on the ability to teach the next generation of photographers and continues to do so in founding the Addis Foto Fest. The annual festival aims to train emerging photographers not just from her native Ethiopia but from the whole continent, of all stripes - working in journalism, portraiture, fashion, and more.

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