Aida Muluneh shines in Bamako
Last weekend saw the opening of the 7th African Photography Encounters Bienniale in Bamako, Mali. A unique exhibition of work from Africa’s best photographers. This year’s event is special in that it features a section dedicated to video for the first time ever and the theme of the exhibition is “in the town and beyond”. Ethiopian-born US-based photographer, Aida Muluneh is among the photographers exhibiting.
The BBC’s cultural entertainment program The Ticket’s presenter asked Aida to tell about her work which he decribed as ‘the most talked about in the exhibition’.
Aida explained about one of her works she took in Addis showing a little girl going for a ride with her father.
Here is my own quick transcription.
” A lot of people don’t want to have thier pictures taken, especially inside a car.So I said to this man ‘You know I just wanna take a couple of frames -you and your daughter.’ The first frame was actually her looking into the camera and for me it is sort of like this symbolism of the relaltionships that daughters have with their fathers and a lot of time I got comments from people who look at the work and they ask what is in her mouth.It looks like a cigarette but it is actullay a lollypop and she has this very calm confident , looking sort of ‘I am the queen going for a ride’, you know in a Sunday afternoon or something like that.And her father has this sort of proud look in himself, even though he is looking out windowshop but he has this pride having this daugher, sitting in the back seat and him driving around.It’s very common thing also in our culture to have your father drive you around, go on a trip somewhere and so forth.
And the most fascinating thing to me is it is presenting image of Africa that is completely different from what is the norm and people will be curious to know what exactly it is.For a lot of people who look at my work, the most interesting to me is they don’t know where the location is, because they think it is any part of Africa and so forth.The second thing ,because it is black and whilte , it is sort of timeless, in the sense that you can really put it, for example this specific photo looks like something that could be from the fifties or it could be yesterday.”