Muhiba Botan
NETHERLANDS
Muhiba Botan (1988) is a Somalian-Dutch artist. She holds a Master degree with honors in Visual Arts, with a focus on photography, from Luca School of Arts in Genk, Belgium. After graduating she moved to Antwerp where she currently resides and works. Her work is an exploration on gender, race and identity. As a child of refugees, she’s been acutely aware of the intersection between these subjects and how this impacts the social, political and cultural issues the diaspora face. Her work focusses on the way we perceive each other and ourselves in society.The cause, effect and consequences of these views. By examining, dissecting, reimagining and reconstructing them she invites the viewer to do the same. The goal of her artistic work is to make viewers participate in questioning how and why certain perceptions exist. Her work has been part of several different collective exhibits and has also been published. In 2017 she won the Young Talent Public Prize at the Affordable Art Fair in Brussels. Aside from photography she also has a passion for film. Currently she’s working on developing her directing skills and creating more short films. Together with her partner the film duo is known as Samsamaniko.
The Myth of the Other
Who or what is the ‘Other’? And how does our perception of ‘It’ differ from the way we perceive ‘Ourselves’? This project deconstructs the process of ‘Othering’ and thereby illuminates the mythical creation of The Other. On one hand the artist portrays herself as the pinnacle of the perfect ‘Self’, the counterpart of The Other. The images are inspired by the shared cultural perception of the Self in the West, the esthetical norms adhered to the Self and the depiction of the highest achievable form of perfection shown in different media forms, most notably in Hollywood movies such as ‘Pleasantville’, ‘Stepford Wives’ where these iconic archetypes are pushed to the extreme. The other part of this project shows the artist as the mythical Other. Inspired by the way the exotic Other was created through the Western gaze during the era of the human zoo’s, the artist layers absurd stereotypical images on top of each other with the intention of deconstructing the process of Othering and illuminate the mythical creation of the Other. “Interrogating stereotypes makes them uninhabitable, it destroys their naturalness and normality” – Stuart Hall This project also contains a social experiment on perception. All images are self portraits, continually showing the same person over and over again. When realizing this, does that alter the perception of the viewer? Can viewers reconcile both women as being one or is there an unconscious barrier that stops them from considering the two as one?

The Addis Foto Fest (AFF) was established in 2010 by award-winning photographer and cultural entrepreneur, Aida Muluneh. The festival is organized by Desta for Africa Creative Consulting PLC. AFF is a biennial international photography festival held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It has previously featured exhibitions, portfolio reviews, conferences, projections and film screenings in many different renowned venues. It is also the first and only international photography festival in East Africa.