About the Exhibition
On March 1, 2023, Public Art Fund will debut This is where I am, an exhibition of twelve new photographs by Aïda Muluneh on over 330 JCDecaux bus shelters across New York, Boston, and Chicago in the United States, and Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire. The exhibition will mark the first time that Public Art Fund presents artwork on the African continent, simultaneously expanding the organization’s partnership with JCDecaux beyond the United States. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Muluneh’s practice focuses on her cultural heritage as a way to explore themes of history, politics, sense of place, and other pressing issues such as the climate crisis. For this new series, Muluneh drew inspiration from Ethiopian poet Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin’s “This is where I am”. Written in 1974–the year that marked both Muluneh’s birth and the start of the Ethiopian Revolution–the poem and the resulting body of photographs are markedly personal. The series bridges past and present, as Muluneh examines her experiences as an immigrant and refugee, reflects upon the various political regimes she has lived through, and borrows visual language from religious iconography. Aïda Muluneh: This is where I am broadens Public Art Fund and JCDecaux’s partnership, and is the artist’s first public art exhibition in both the United States and Côte d’Ivoire.
About the Artist
Aïda Muluneh (b.1974, Ethiopia) lives and works in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire, and has exhibited in numerous countries, including South Africa, Mali, Senegal, Egypt, Canada, United States of America, France, Germany, England, Norway, and China. Her work can be found in the permanent collection at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, Hood Museum, The RISD Museum of Art and the Museum of Biblical Art in the United States. She is the 2007 recipient of the European Union Prize in the Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie, in Bamako, Mali, the 2010 winner of the CRAF International Award of Photography in Spilimbergo, Italy, Winner of 2020 The Royal Photographic Society Curatorship award, a 2018 CatchLight Fellow in San Francisco, USA. In 2019, she also became the first black woman to co-curate the Nobel Peace Prize exhibition while serving as a Canon Europe Ambassador. Muluneh graduated from Howard University in Washington D.C. with a major in Film. She is the founder of the Addis Foto Fest, one of the largest photography festivals in Africa.
Muluneh is the founder of Africa Foto Fair 2022, open December 8, 2022 – March 26, 2023 in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire. Her solo show, Aïda Muluneh: The Art of Advocacy opens January 12 – February 24, 2023 at Efie Gallery in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.