Exploring Aida Muluneh’s Surreal Photographs

by Andy SmithPosted on

Photographer Aida Muluneh has lived all over the world, but it was in returning to Ethiopia that she found inspiration for her latest body of work. Muluneh’s first solo exhibition for David Kruts Projects in New York City was titled “The World is 9,” and it featured new images from the artist. The title comes from something the artist’s grandmother used to say: “The world is 9. It is never complete and never perfect.”

In an official statement, Muluneh says this of her new work: “I am not seeking answers but asking provocative questions about the life that we live – as people, as nations, as beings.” The artist maintains that the vibrant colors in the exhibition are intended to convey passion, a point of entry that is meant to both enrapture and disturb. “The more loving one (Part One)” is an example of that boldness, as the subject walks from one freestanding red ladder to the next, against a bluesky backdrop. “The more loving one (Part Two)” features the same cloaked figure, now bundled on the ground below.

All of the works in this exhibition were created this year. Since entering the national scene in the early 2000s, Muluneh’s photographic works have found homes in the permanent collection of Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (and Hood Museum, the Museum of Biblical Art, and Sindika Dokolo Foundation in Berlin.) The artist is based in Addis Ababa, where she founded the first international photography festival in Ethiopia, Addis Foto Fest.

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