In 2018, with support from the H&M Foundation, WaterAid commissioned Ethiopian artist/photographer Aida Muluneh to create a series of 12 works about the lack of access to clean water. The project emerged from a dialogue about the role of art in advocacy, the issues of water and sanitation and how Africa is represented by aid organizations and in global media.
"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. 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." Aida Muluneh
Last summer, the artist’s work was featured in a major photographyshow at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. WaterAid’s commission, “Water Life,” is her first new body of work since then. In this powerful series, Muluneh uses an Afrofuturist approach to situate the water crisis.
“Water Life” is now showing at the David Krut Gallery in New York through April 25, 2019. The exhibition will travel to the U.K. this fall. Half of all gallery sales will benefit WaterAid.
Muluneh's photograph, “The Sorrow We Bear,” is on the cover ofthis week's Washington Post Magazine as part of the series “24 Magazine Covers About Climate Change.”