Aida Muluneh is a contemporary Ethiopian photographer known for her powerful portraits of face-painted African people in surreal settings. She earned a bachelor's degree in communication with a film major from Howard University in Washington, D.C, After graduation, She worked as a photojournalist for Washington.
Muluneh’s vibrant acuity, as disorienting as it is alluring, has the power to evoke a place Africa is in and at the same time subvert conventional ideas about it. Her work also primarily features women due to her belief that there is power in the gaze of a woman, transcending time and space to reveal universal stories and experiences. She believes "There's an expression that if you teach something to a man, you teach one person, but if you teach something to a woman, you're teaching the whole society." This belief answers her reasons for featuring Women in depicting her art.
Aida Muluneh has served on the juries of various photographic contests, including the Sony World Photography Awards 2017 and the World Press Photo Contest 2017. She is regarded as one of Africa's leading professionals in photography. She's also spoken at events including the African Union cultural summit, Art Basel, and Tedx/Johannesburg about photography. Aida Muluneh also served as a master at the Joop Swart Masterclass in 2019 and delivered the prestigious Sem Presser Lecture at the World Press Photo Festival in Amsterdam.
Aida Muluneh is the founder and director of the Addis Foto Fest (AFF), East Africa's first international photography festival, which has been held in Addis Ababa since 2010. Through her company DESTA (Developing and Educating Society Through Art) For Africa Creative Consulting PLC (DFA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she continues to educate, curate, and establish cultural projects with local and international institutions.
The photographer's work has also been featured in significant magazines and news outlets, including the New York Times, TIME, The Atlantic, Vice, OkayAfrica, The Guardian, Elle Magazine, and many others.
"The Sorrows We Bear," a piece commissioned by WaterAid, was one of the 24 Magazine Covers About Climate Change for Washington Post Magazine.