Muslim Neighbors is a photonarrative exhibit project, which is part of a larger initiative to challenge Islamophobia on a local level through education, exhibition, and engagement. The project documents stories about growing up, coming of age, and living daily life as Muslim Americans. The exhibit has been on display in community spaces such as churches, coffee shops, and public libraries in greater Lafayette, Indiana. In conjunction with this exhibit, interfaith dialogue events and panel presentations have been offered. We are currently looking to expand the project to other cities. Please visit the project website here.
Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah: Community In Between
Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah: Community In-Between (2015-present) is a photonarrative project with 1.5 and 2nd generation Somali-Americans in Columbus, Ohio, which includes a book, exhibition, and series of community dialogues. A combination of storytelling and research connects each narrative to another, creating a strong framework for capturing the roles of young Somali Americans in community building, representing the heterogeneous experiences of the participants, and showing the deep connection to the diaspora and the interconnectedness of individual experiences. This new generation resiliently overcomes challenges such as racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia while still maintaining their hope in the future. Community In-Between captures their spirit and unwavering faith.
Two community artists help to capture the participants in their natural spaces, and their journey, aided by their empowering mentor, Riya Jama, bridges the gap of Somali females and their access to photography.
Dublin Arts Council presented Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah: Community In-Between, a photography exhibition featuring portraits of 15 central Ohio Somali role models, as the first iteration in a three-year project exploring immigration, integration and identity. Portraits created by two female Somali high school student photographers were accompanied by written and video personal narratives, artifacts, and oral histories delivered by augmented reality. Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah: Community In-Between was presented in collaboration with guest preparators Ruth Smith and Qorsho Hassan.
Order the book at Ohio State Press.
This project—a collaboration of the Somali community, Somali artists and local arts organizations, and the authors and young Somali photographers—has produced a fascinating portrait of Columbus’s Somali community as seen through the eyes of its young people.
—Michael Coleman, former mayor of Columbus
Dumarka Soomaaliyeed Voices Unveiled
Dumarka Soomaaliyeed Voices Unveiled (2012-2015) is a narrative participatory photography project with young Somali women in Columbus, Ohio. By telling stories and taking photographs together, project participants develop exhibitions of their work to help educate others about Somali culture and their experiences as refugees and children of refugees in central Ohio. These exhibits have been on display in libraries around central Ohio. In conjunction with this project, bilingual story times, photography workshops for youth, poetry readings, and community forums have been offered. Please visit the project website here.