Culture\Events and Festivals

Photographers look at Africa from fresh angle

Agencies | Updated: 2016-12-20 07:57

Photographers look at Africa from fresh angle

Aida Muluneh (left),photographer and founder of Addis Foto Fest talks with her coworkers. [Photo/Agencies] 

Surrounded by untidy stacks of paper and abandoned half-empty coffee cups, photographer Aida Muluneh chain smokes cigarettes in her Addis Ababa office and rails against the negative portrayals of Africa by foreigners.

The 42-year-old returned to Ethiopia nine years ago after living in Yemen and Canada, and set herself the task of changing perceptions of the continent, replacing the outsiders' dominant eye with an African one.

The Addis Foto Fest, which she founded and which opened its fourth edition on Thursday, is one way of doing this, she says.

Muluneh left Ethiopia at age 5 but developed a powerful nostalgia for home while living abroad.

Her first photography job was with The Washington Post in the United States, by which time she was "obsessed" with Africa and irritated by the images of her home country that she saw published in the media, ones that still harked back to the famine of the 1980s.

But Ethiopia had changed, even if portrayals of it had not.

She returned to a country moving at breakneck speed, an Ethiopia "stuck between the past, the present and the future", where a drought-induced food crisis in the countryside coexists with a shiny new, highline tram for city commuters, where luxurious skyscrapers loom above shanties.

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