Still Life is a contemporary photography exhibition capturing people and moments in Somalia. Both photographers in the exhibition, Fardowsa Hussein (b. 1995) and Hana Mire (b. 1990), are first film-makers and then photographers. Due to this, they both have a keen, intimate gaze with which they see the world through. The result? Luscious and personal images, as though they are stills from a film, dreamy and evocative. Through their sympathetic lens, we are able to experience the extraordinary, in ordinary daily scenes from around Somalia. Fardowsa Hussein is a documentary photographer and her work ranges from covering humanitarian crises to everyday life in Somalia.
The Somali Arts Foundation (SAF) is the first contemporary art institution in Somalia. SAF seeks to promote and create conducive environments for the creative industries to flourish in Somalia, while leveraging the arts to ignite critical discourses around ideas on identity, memory, loss, healing and what it means to be a “Soomaali” person in the 21st Century.
Fardowsa Hussein is a documentary photographer and her work ranges from covering humanitarian crises to everyday life in Somalia.
Hana Mire is currently directing and producing her first feature length documentary.
Shaping Peace Together
Every year the International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day is observed on the 21st of September throughout the world. The theme this year is “Shaping Peace Together”, which celebrates the power of global solidarity towards building a peaceful and sustainable world.
It is pertinent now more than ever during this period of unprecedented challenges, to observe this Day. This year has clearly illustrated how much we need one another, as COVID-19 has thrown us all into a turmoil by threatening our health, security and our very way of life, serving as a reminder that what happens in one part of the world can indeed impact people everywhere.
New challenges of division have emerged, spreading hatred and intolerance, from terrorism, to climate change contributing to forced migration and now a global health pandemic.
While the initial message that gave birth to the International Peace day was intended for armed parties, as a period of non-violence and ceasefire, the day has come to symbolise a celebration for peace and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace. Art is an essential piece to building the peaceful and prosperous future that we want, one which is missing from the peace-building efforts in Somalia in any meaningful way.
Art is an essential piece to building the peaceful and prosperous future that we want
One might ask why contemporary art is important in a context such as Somalia, where other seemingly pressing issues take precedence in the ongoing post conflict reconstruction. Art is a means to examine our environment, to critically engage with it, question and challenge it, while carving out spaces to imagine the futures we want. Art offer spaces to dream, as well as, spaces to make real changes in our society. Art in its purest form gives legitimacy to diversity. Contemporary art in particular is an enquiry into our present day-to-day life, in its multifaceted way.
By creating safe spaces and activities to promote and nurture contemporary art, we hope to be an integral part of Somalia’s post-conflict reconstruction. We are a nation where over 70% of our population is under the age of 30, making us one of the youngest countries in the world. Our young people need independent safe spaces to express themselves creatively and examine their environments and engage with one another.
Art and culture give rise to critical reflections
Art and culture give rise to critical reflections and engagement and are an important part of the development democratic societies.