Somalia as a nation has seen a lot of unrest and ravaging, like most African countries. Somalia has been stereotyped as a country known for unrest and problems (even though almost every nation has seen a big share of this.)
However, in the darkest of times and through the most unlikely ways, disaster can be the litmus test for how art and artistic manifestations arise – becoming the catalyst for hearts that create.
Take Ebony Iman Dallas’ foundation for example and you’ll see a constellation of art culture arising from disaster, as the foundation, Afrikanation Artists Organization, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization is on a mission to restore and support past, present, and future Somali art culture.
In different parts of the world Artists, Creatives from Somalia are creating new narratives and paving light-filled ways. Some of these Artists include:
Nadifa Mohamed, Writer
Nadifa Mohamed was born in Somaliland in 1981 and moved as a child to England in 1986, staying permanently when war broke out in Somalia.
Nadifa’s first novel, Black Mamba Boy (2009) which won the Betty Trask award, is a semi-biographical account of her father’s life in Yemen in the 1930s and ’40s, during the colonial period. According to her “the novel grew out of a desire to learn more about my roots, to elucidate Somali history for a wider audience and to tell a story that I found fascinating.”
In 2013, Mohamed released her second novel, The Orchard of Lost Souls. Set in Somalia on the eve of the civil war.
Today, Nadifa Mohamed is still channeling the Somalia narrative. So you should go find her on Twitter.
— Nadifa Mohamed (@thesailorsgirl) October 16, 2017
Amaal Said is a Danish-born Somali photographer and poet, currently based in London, UK. She is deeply concerned with storytelling and how best she can connect with people to document their stories. She has photographed mainly Women of Colour in an attempt to widen representation.
Amaal Said’s photography grew out of the writing. You should see her Poems, they are made of metaphorical dreams. She is a member of the Burn After Reading poetry collective and a former Barbican Young Poet. She also won the Wasafiri New Writing Prize for poetry in 2015.
Ifrah Mansour, Artist/Performer
Ifrah Mansour is a Somali multimedia artist, interweaving text, movement, sound, digital media, and visual installation. She uses art to explore and expand perceptions of beauty, womanhood and East-African diaspora lives in hopes of bringing more awareness and acceptance into the world. She is a bilingual teacher who enjoys gardening and cycling.
Her recent works include; Private party, How to have fun in a civil war, Esug, Ethnically Trendy, God! Make Me A Boy, The Blacker The Berry, Corn for Ayayo, Global Taxi driver, and IM series.
Born in Saudi Arabia, Ifrah Mansour’s family lived in Somalia for four years before moving to Kenya and the United States. She studied education at the University of Minnesota and began working more seriously as an artist six years ago. Mansour’s work reflects her split allegiances in a diaspora community that considers two different places home.
Idil Ibrahim, Director/Producer/Actress/Writer
Idil Ibrahim is a Somali–American film director, producer, actress, writer and entrepreneur. She is a producer at redfitz, a New York based production company. Idil has worked on and produced award winning film projects filmed in Cuba, Serbia, Japan, Turkey, Somalia, Lebanon, Zambia, Kenya, Senegal and Uganda. Idil produced the film Homecoming by Jim Chuchu, alongside Wanuri Kahiu, as part of the African Metropolis Program.
Passionate about humanitarian and social justice issues, Idil brings that passion to life as a filmmaker, actress, director, and producer. Her film projects have screened at some of the most prestigious film festivals such as Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam.
— Idil Ibrahim (@I_Am_Idil) September 22, 2017
Halima Aden is a Somali-American fashion model. She is noted for being the first Somali-American to compete and become a semi-finalist in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. Following her participation in the pageant, Halima received national attention and was signed to IMG Models.
Halima Aden was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, and at the age of six moved to the United States, settling in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
She is the first hijab-wearing model to walk international runways and to be signed to a major agency. In June 2017, she became the first hijab-wearing model on Vogue Arabia’s cover.
Amina Adan is a freelance photographer/videographer based in London, England. What started off as a hobby for capturing detail that the human eye missed, soon turned into a passion. A passion for making moments and saving moments.
Amina’s key interest and artistic manifestation in using visual content to tell stories, is documenting memories is the greatest way to retell a story. She creates photographs that focus on the lives of Somalis living in Britain.
Amaal Nuux is a Somali-Canadian singer-songwriter. Based in Toronto, her music is noted for its socially conscious themes. She sings in a variety of genres, including pop and r&b.
She was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, the middle child of seven sisters and two brothers. When the civil war broke out in Somalia in 1991, Nuux and her family emigrated to Toronto, Canada.
Amaal Nuux got immersed in art early on. She began singing at the age of 14, having been exposed to music at school as well as drama classes. She later returned to Somalia to strengthen her ties with her native culture. She describes her time there as seminal, having allowed her to grow as a person and hone her artistic craft.
My first music video. 😢 link in bio xo Thank you to everyone that made this possible. From @eye.blake for directing and @ojdiditagain on the camera. Much love to all the crew and the actors. I can’t say enough. And finally thank you @muchfact for the support. #LastOnes @siramwrap @__wenzdae @nya.tayn @sagalina_________ @hodanyousuf @exoticarabian @miriannjoh @beydabeyda @_mariategui
Warsan Shire is a Somali – British writer, poet, editor, and teacher, who was born to Somali parents in Kenya. She is an amazing earth-moving poet! In 2013 she was awarded the inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize. Her poems connect gender, war, sex, and cultural assumptions.
Warsan Shire’s whose words are featured in Beyoncé’s globe-shaking Lemonade album.
yosra i hope you're proud of us.
'LEMONADE' the visual album (2016) https://t.co/fzpAehOmmo
— warsan shire (@warsan_shire) April 27, 2016
In response to the recent terrorist attack in Mogadishu, we’ve compiled a list of links through which you can donate and help the People of Somalia:
Content Credit: Wikipedia, Buzzfeed UK