Ahmed Salah Moneka was born in Baghdad, Iraq, where grew up in a creative, loving, and supportive family. He studied Theatre at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad, and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Theoretical Acting from the University of Baghdad. After acting in live theatre for 9 years, Ahmed became the first black television presenter in Iraq for a popular television show, Mizan Ramadan in 2012. He then moved to film and acted in critically acclaimed and award winning short and feature-length films, many of which have been screened at leading international film festivals including Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival.
Much of Ahmed’s work focuses on the issues of human rights and freedom in his native Iraq. In 2014, Ahmed starred in the short film The Society. Through its heart-wrenching story and gripping performances, the film exposes the ongoing indignity and danger that homosexuals in Iraq regularly experience. As a result of his performance and involvement in the film, Ahmed received serious threats and was unable to return to Iraq after his film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015.
He remained in Toronto and is now working to become a Canadian citizen.
His current projects include performing vocals and drums with Moneka Arabic Jazz is a project reflecting his journey and culture to the Toronto music scene. It is introducing Maqam, Arabic music skills that he learned in Baghdad, Iraq where Ahmed grew up. Also mixed with African grove and rhythm that he inherited from my African descendants, the Moneka Family. Because my journey brought him now to Toronto Canada, he is honoured to collaborate with fascinating local musicians and share this heritage and traditions with everyone. why Jazz and blues because both are the best genre to bridge him the Afro-Arabic background to the diversity of Toronto performers. Also,his multicultural folk band, Moskitto Bar, with French accordionist Tangi Ropars and Ukranian cimbalon player Yura Rafalui, and he is also conducting a series of workshops in Toronto on traditional Iraqi music, called “The Moneka Monologues.”