Nebila Abdulmelik was born and bred in Addis Ababa. She is a pan-Africanist and feminist storyteller who uses the creative arts to speak and archive stories of daily existence. Abdulmelik is also a widely travelled photographer, poet, writer and editor.
Abdulmelik has an MA in African Studies, with a gender and development emphasis from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), following a BA in International Development Studies. She has been taking photographs for over ten years and has grown in terms of her technique, as well as subject matter.
After quitting her job at the African Union in 2017 to pursue photography, she has, since hosted a solo exhibition in Khartoum based on a five-week residency entitled; Khartoum – through a neighbour’s lens. Prior to that, she made her debut in a photo exhibition entitled ‘URBAMORPHOSIS: the changing face of Addis’ alongside a Congolese photographer, John Kaninda, in Addis Ababa in May 2017. Abdulmelik comments, “The project aimed to capture some of the rapid transformation taking place in Addis. It was a tribute to the people who are constantly negotiating their place in this new flower and to the city which is forever trying to outpace its name. Both of these exhibitions are intrigued with storytelling – using photography as a medium to tell those stories and help shape narratives about cities and life across our continent. I am also very much interested in archiving life for posterity”.
Abdulmelik aspires to make her creative passions (photography, poetry, writing) a sustainable means of living – while also contributing to the documentation and archiving of our continent’s peoples, cultures, customs and places.