Water shortage and lack of access to clean water are crucial issues that affect the lives of milions of people around the world, with a particularly devastating impact on the lives of many women and girls. Important topics that Ethiopian photographer Aïda Muluneh highlights in Water Life, the exhibition we saw few days ago at Somerset House. Founder of the Addis Photo Fest, in this series of 12 shots commissioned by Water Aid, Muluneh explores and higlights issues around access to water.
“Access to water in rural regions in Africa is an urgent social issue, as well as an essential determining factor in the self-sustainability of a community. We cannot refute that it is mainly women who bear responsibility for collecting water, a burden that has great consequences for our future and the development of our nation. I have chosen to create a few of these pieces in Dallol, Afar, Ethiopia—an extreme landscape that places emphasis on the message I am transmitting. The world is continually bombarded with images of the social plight of Africa; therefore my focus in this project was to address these topics without the cliché that we see in mainstream media. In a sense, to advocate through art,” Muluneh says in a statement.
To celebrate Aïda Muluneh’s exhibition at Somerset House as part of the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Nowness collaborated with WaterAid to create a special episode of her work. Directed by London-based filmmaker Adeyemi Michael, the film captures Muluneh in process at her studio in Addis Ababa, and in the Danakil Depression—where temperatures regularly soar to 120°F— where she shot part of the Water Life series. The film is supported by H&M Foundation.
Where and When: ‘Aïda Muluneh: Water Life’ is on view at Somerset House, London, until 20 October. Free entrance
Cover Image | Distant Echoes of Dreams (2018), Aïda Muluneh
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