b. 1974, Ethiopia
Aïda Muluneh received her undergraduate degree in film, radio and TV from Howard University, Washington, D.C., in 2001. She currently lives and works in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is the founder of DFA (DESTA FOR AFRICA NGO). An organization that seeks to promote photography in Ethiopia through education, exhibitions and creative exchange.
Born in Ethiopia in 1974, Aïda left the country at a young age and spent an itinerant childhood between Yemen and England. After several years in a boarding school in Cyprus, she finally settled in Canada in 1985. After studying film at Howard University in Washington, D.C., she went on to work as a freelance photographer for The Washington Post. Then in 2003, Aïda was chosen to be part of the groundbreaking show "Ethiopian Passages: Dialogues in the Diaspora" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. Later that same year, she made an appearance in “Imágenes Havana,” a group photography exhibition in Havana, Cuba, that led to her directing "The Unhealing Wound, a documentary about Ethiopian children who were sent to Cuba on an education scholarship but became abandoned for over twenty years.
Aïda is also the founder of D.E.S.T.A FOR AFRICA, a non-profit cultural organization in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. D.E.S.T.A FOR AFRICA stands for Developing and Educating Society Through Art. It also means "happiness" in the Ethiopian language Amharic. D.E.S.T.A FOR AFRICA promotes cultural development through the use of photography by providing workshops, exhibitions and creative exchanges.
Aïda continues to teach photography and exhibit her work worldwide. A collection of her images can be found in permanent collections in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and the Museum of Biblical Art in the United States. She is also the recipient of the European Union Prize for her work on Ethiopia in the 2007-7th Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie, in Bamako, Mali.