This evening will reflect on the experiences of young British-Somali writers and artists navigating their positionality through their aspiration to publish, perform, or display their work to a mainstream English-speaking audience:
Chairing this event is Dr. Muna Elmi, who is currently a Research Associate at UCL in the Computer Science department. She has a PHD in neuroscience from Gothenburg University in Sweden.
Khadra Muse Yusuf is an internally driven and emotionally charged visual artist who lives in Southern Italy. Inspired by Van Gogh, her art is contemporary and spiritual using mixed media such as recycling and collages, and expressing beauty, emotion, and colour. Khadra has been working as an artist for 8 years and within that time she has completed 15 successful shows.
Aisha Afrah is a poet whose work touches on many themes, such as nature, being a woman and a refugee. She also writes short fiction, which are mainly set in Somalia. She recently graduated with a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, andis currently undertaking a Master’s degree in African Literature at SOAS, University of London, with a focus on Somali Literature.
Hamdi Khalif is a writer, poet, and member of Bards Without Borders, an artists’ collective creating responses to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare “Dead Get Over it! had sell out shows at the Southbank Centre, RichMix and Hackney showroom. Hamdi is now working on a collection of poems around the experience of Black Muslim women
Fatuma Khaireh is a playwright and contributor to OOMK Zine and a research associate at Numbi Arts. Her short plays have been performed at Oval House, Lyric Hammersmith, and Theatre 503. In July 2014 her play Baddiya was performed as part of the I Am Your Neighbour Festival in Brixton.
Sagal Sheekh is co-founder and business manager of 492, an online-based company that centres on contemporary designscelebrating individual freedom. They 'aspire to inspire change, provoke dialogue and invoke growth under the guise of art.' Their products range from clothing, accessories, playing cards and canvasprints specialising in satirical references towards political, historical,societal and cultural issues with an emphasis on East African culture. Theillustrations feature a playful mix of iconic images and quotations. The company promotes self love and an enthusiastic resolve towards embracing ourintrinsic qualities and beauties.
The event will conclude with musical performances by Ali Dhaanto, a songwriter and one of the most popular Dhaanto singers. “Dhaanto” is a particular way of singing and dancing with roots in the Somali region of Ethiopia, but now very popular among all Somalis.