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14 Mind-Blowing Images From Aida Muluneh's Solo Exhibition

Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh's 'The World is 9' is now on view at David Krut Projects NYC.

Aida Muluneh, The World is 9 at David Krut Projects NYC. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.


Living in Addis Ababa for the past nine years has been eye-opening for Aida Muluneh. “A lesson in humility, and a lesson in what it means to return to a land that was foreign to me,” the Ethiopian visual artist and photographer writes.

Muluneh’s new solo show at David Krut Projects in New York City takes its name from an expression her grandmother would tell her as a child: “The world is 9, it is never complete and it’s never perfect.” It’s a lesson that’s stuck throughout her time living in Addis Ababa.

“In this world, we are idealists seeking perfection but living in a reality which does not afford us that balance,” writes Muluneh. “Life is unpredictable and imperfect – we must conquer these challenges with strength and endurance because the world within us and the world knocking on our door, bears the unknown future.”

Through these experiences, Muluneh says she was inspired to create 28 new pieces of work. Each image in The World is 9 is itself an exploration of questions about life, love, and history. Muluneh says her intent with the art is to ask provocative questions “about the life that we live – as people, as nations, as beings.”

Muluneh’s work on body painting is inspired by traditional body art from across the African continent. “Each work is a reflection of conscious and sub-conscious manifestations of time and space,” she writes.

Check out a preview of Aida Muluneh’s 'The World is 9' below. The show is on view at David Krut Projects NYC (526 West 26th Street SUITE 816) through April 16th.

Aida Muluneh, The Morning Bride, 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, Sai Mado / The distant gaze, 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, For all they care, 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, For those who ride in the wind, 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, Strength in honor, 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, City Life, 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, Rules of engagement, 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, Conversation, 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, Dinkenesh Part One, 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, Romance is dead, 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, Tizita/Nostaligia, 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, The more loving one (Part One), 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, The more loving one (Part Two), 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

Aida Muluneh, Things Fall Apart, 2016. Photograph Printed on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310 GSM, 80 x 80 cm, 2016. Image courtesy of David Krut Projects.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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