The Magazine of Ethiopian Airlines
Events + Excursions

The World is 9

Photographer Aida Muluneh’s latest work wrestles with the imperfections of life.


Aida Muluneh champions the art of photography across Africa. Through her work as founder of the biennial Addis Foto Fest and a mentor through the DESTA for Africa Foundation, she seeks to draw the world’s attention toward African artists while helping sharpen the work they produce. But perhaps her biggest influence on the continent’s photography scene is through the artwork she herself creates in Addis Ababa, where she returned nine years ago after decades of living around the world.

In her most recent body of work, titled “The World Is 9,” Aida reflects on those nine years back in Ethiopia, during which an old expression from her grandmother proved especially meaningful: “The world is 9; it is never complete, and it’s never perfect.”

“In this world, we are idealists seeking perfection,” writes Aida, “but [we are] living in a reality which does not afford us that balance.” Wrestling with that juxtaposition, Aida created 28 pieces of work, each exploring questions about life, love and history. The collection continues her past work of body painting, inspired by the traditional art form found across the African continent.

The collection has already been featured across the world — from Cape Town to New York City — and a sampling will also be included in the Dak’Art this May, the 12th edition of the biennial art show highlighting contemporary art from across the continent and its diaspora.

To check out “The World Is 9,” as well as the work of 64 other contemporary African artists, visit Dak’Art 2016, to be held from May 3 to June 3 in Dakar, Senegal. More details at