For her new series of public art installations presented over 330 bus shelters across the United States, and Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire , Ivory Coast based photographer Aïda Muluneh drew inspiration from Ethiopian poet Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin’s “This is where I am.” Written in 1974–the year that marked Muluneh’s birth in Ethiopia and the start of the Ethiopian Revolution–the poem and the resulting body of photographs are markedly personal.
Set against hand-painted backdrops, The series of 12 new works examines the artist’s experiences as an immigrant and Ethiopian woman. The compositions are rich in symbolism and allude to the social structures and political formations of Ethiopia, her home country. Muluneh also uses props that serve as cultural references, such as jebena, traditional Ethiopian coffee pots, keys, chairs, and stars.
Muluneh’s works shown here were on view across New York, Boston, and Chicago in the United States, and Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire until 21 May as part of Public Art Fund . Find more of her exquisite renderings on her site and Instagram.
My work is a visual diary of my experiences in my country and abroad. With this said, I am heavily inspired by my culture and our stories. Each image has its own coding with messages specifically aimed at my Ethiopian audience. The colors I use, symbols and objects I use on my sets are expressions that I bring together from Ethiopian spirituality and culture.Aïda Muluneh
I have always been a fan of public art installations, since they are the best way to engage the public that might not necessarily visit galleries or museums — in a sense, bringing the art to the people.Aïda Muluneh