Monday, 17 October 2016

Muluneh going places with her art

By Lindiwe Sibanyoni

Aida Muluneh received her BA in film, radio and television from Horward University in 2001. She has worked freelance since then, also founding DESTA (Developing and Educating Societies Through the Arts). Her work has been exhibited at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC.

She has expressed a preference for manual/analog photography: In this digital world, she think every photographer should get his or her hands dirty in the darkroom. She’s still having a hard time accepting digital photography and having 20, 000 images to edit every time she shoots, and monochrome images: Truth is, either black or white. Human elements are exhibited through it. Black and white is the foundation. Colour is tricky. But whatever she use, her focus is capturing light. One of her pieces was selected as the poster picture for ‘The Divine Comedy, Contemporary African Artists’ travelling exhibition.

On a blog she started to introduce DESTA, she explains what sparked her interest in photography. She remembered when she was a teenager she was so ashamed to tell people that she was an Ethiopian, that she wished she was South African! Regardless, the stigma of the ‘starving Ethiopian’ made it impossible for her to have any kind of pride in being Ethiopian. But it was at the end of high school that she realised how images could create or distort realities and so, at the age of sixteen she began exploring photography. The World is 9, an exhibition of new works was recently on view at David Krut Projects in New York. In the exhibition catalog, Muluneh says returning home after 28 years has been a lesson in humility. Since being back, she says, “An expression of my grandmother has stuck in my mind – she would say, ‘The World is 9, it is never complete and it’s never perfect.’” Hence the little of the exhibition.

The art piece below was chosen as a poster picture on the Marie Claire Magazine WWW.MARIECLAIRE.CO.ZA October 2016 issue, Page 121. This art piece shows how passionate and dedicated she is:

Fresh from showing a selection of her new body of work, The World is 9, at Joburg Art Fair, Ethiopian artist Aida Muluneh talks to us about her creative process. She described her creative process as creating most of her work in her country and the inspiration comes from traditional body paintings from Ethiopia. She develops each image from a basic sketch then, working along with fashion designers, she creates the clothing for the shoot. Some of the face paintings are based on traditional body paintings from the southern region of Ethiopia – she wants to combine the various cultures of the country.

Her frequently feature women as the focal point in her work is to choose more often, female models because it offers her flexibility to tell her story. The body paintings on them are symbols of fading traditional cultures. The most important thing to her right now is balancing the global view on Africa and presenting our perspective that has often been overshadowed by the foreign gaze. Africa is a complex continent and there are more sides to our story.

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