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Somali Woman Promotes Peace through Art

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A famous young female Somali painter is speaking through her paintings across Somalia, and people are noticing. Nujuum Hashi Ahmed’s paintings are about the day to day life of the common Somali citizen. Her paintings are about peace, an end to the conflict in the country and Somalia where there is abundant food and prosperity. Her art studio is located in her small apartment in the capital Mogadishu. She spends most of her time painting. One of her paintings depicts a woman who has a hand covering her mouth as if being muffled and prevented from speaking out.”I want to continue making this beautiful image of Somali girls because we as Somali females can do whatever we decide to do in our lives, and we can create our own lives without fearing anyone. Our society is a male-dominated society, but we are struggling and fighting against that domination, that we also can make our dreams come true through our hard work and we can speak out and be heard,” said Nujuum. Forced to flee her home in Mogadishu due to war in 2007, she went to the city of Hargeisa in Somaliland, a self-declared but internationally unrecognized republic that is still considered part of Somalia. In Hargeisa, she studied nursing and practised it at Hargeisa General Hospital among other places, following in the footsteps of her father, who also worked in the health industry as an anaesthetist. But this is not the only thing she picked up from her father. “My father used to do paintings and drawings but he never shared them with anyone. That is where I got my inspiration from him. That is when I started doing my own art.”Nujuum stayed in Hargeisa juggling between painting and nursing until peace returned to Mogadishu. “I used to do paintings on the streets, even on the roads and everywhere, just to relax my soul from the war and the pain that we have gone through in our childhood.”
Nujuum tackles various day to day aspects of life in Somalia through her paintings, including the rights of women, politics, peace and conflict. “I am not afraid of anyone, as long as God is with me and always protecting me. I know some people really believe that art is a bad thing. I trust that art can create and store our culture, our existence as Somali people.
“It can create this experience and this history that we will leave for the next generation. I believe that every community and every country and every culture needs to be stored. I am doing this for my country so that one day people will take notice that art was very important,” she said.
“I am trying to build a positive image about my country, so I am not afraid of anyone except my God, and I am sure He is protecting me. It is not easy to be an artist and a woman in Somalia because people believe that women should not be in the focus, they should just stay home and do nothing, and just maybe have babies and raise a family. I never give ears to those people. I continue to have my own life,” she explained.
For Nujuum, a stable and prosperous Somalia is her greatest dream. She wants the youth to bring change and lasting peace to Somalia in any way possible. “It is my dream to have a small interior design company and studio where I sell my artworks and a little space to teach other talented young Somalis to have the art skills they need. I want to work and teach others to have skills so that they can support their lives,” she said.
(Extracted from aa.com.tr)