In Aïda Muluneh’s photograph All In One (2016), a single figure embodies multiplicity through the addition of extra hands of different hues. Muluneh’s use of colorful makeup is inspired by body art from across Africa and allows her to physically construct a character out of her model. After living around the world, Muluneh (b. 1974) returned to her homeland of Ethiopia, where she founded the Addis Foto Fest, the first international festival in Africa. Though she was born in Ethiopia, she has sometimes felt like a outsider due to many years spent elsewhere. Her photographs, such as this one, bear the influence of that complicated experience, and are drawn from her series The World is 9, which is named after a saying of her Grandmother’s: “The World is nine; it is never complete and it’s never perfect.” With this series, the artist also recognizes the capacity of photography to convey the multiplicity inherent in any individual.
Photographed as part of the Exhibit Being: New Photography, Up Through August 19th, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC.