Contemporary photographer Aïda Muluneh is an artist reframing global perceptions of the African continent. Born in Addis Ababa in 1974, she left Ethiopia as an infant while the country was in the midst devastating civil war. She spent the next decade in England, Yemen, Greece and Cyprus before settling in Canada in 1985. Her career aspirations swung from basketball player to lawyer before pivoting to photographer when her school art teacher reopened a disused darkroom and handed her a Pentax 35-millimetre camera. She received a BA in film, radio, and television from Howard University in 2000, and gravitated towards the work of Chester Higgins Jr., Richard Avedon and Gordon Parks. Following her studies, she got a job at The Washington Post and began questioning the mass media’s perception of African Americans and the African continent. In 2007, she returned to Addis Ababa, where she continues to live and work as a fine artist, commercial photographer, photojournalist, educator and cultural entrepreneur.
Muluneh has exhibited everywhere from South Africa to Canada, England to China. Her work is permanently in situ at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and can be found on the walls of MoMA and the Hood Museum of Art.