Beginnings on Cleveland Avenue
Urur Dhex-Dhexad Ah/Community in Between
It is not a direct translation, and that is significant. Qorsho and I met for coffee last year during one of my trips to Columbus and got to talking about identity and representation issues. She mentioned an idea she'd been thinking about to showcase the ways that young Somalis were contributing to their communities, and I immediately jumped on board. I contacted a good friend at Dublin Arts Council about the idea, and they offered us a slot in their exhibition schedule and agreed to sponsor the development of this project.
Since this initial conversation, we've focused our inquiry on community-building among young Somalis in the diaspora, with aims to offer a counternarrative to the ways the Somali community is often represented, offer a series of role models for Somali youth through the development of posters to be hung in social service agencies and schools, further investigate diaspora community-building processes and identity negotiation among 1.5-2nd generation Somali Americans, and contribute to local conversations regarding race, religion, immigration, integration/participation, and representation. Our project includes a photonarrative exhibit featuring photographs taken by three high school female Somali photographers, each participants' story, and artifacts from each participant. We were able to offer a photography scholarship for the three girls, which included a camera and a three-day workshop with Toronto-based artist Riya Jama. More on that in a future post. It also includes a poster series exploring attributes of individual attributes that help build strong communities. A website is to come.
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Ruth M. Smith
Community arts educator and researcher. Drinking coffee. Home educating. Making art. Listening intentionally.