Since the 1800s, Somalia has been called “the land of bards.” Poetry was, and still is, the preferred medium for artistic expression and storytelling. This is in part because of the country’s long Islamic tradition, which discourages the figurative representation of humans. Yet Somali artists have also turned to drawing, painting, photography, and video.
This exhibition celebrates the work of three Somali visual artists from the Twin Cities: Hassan Nor, Aziz Osman, and Ifrah Mansour. Nor and Osman were born and grew up in Somalia, migrating to the United States in the 1990s. Their drawings and paintings look to the past, depicting life in Somalia before the war, and in transit, on the way to their new home country. Mansour, on the other hand, was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Minnesota. Her video addresses issues of transgression and connection. All three share with the viewer very personal and accessible stories of memory, identity, pride, and resilience.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website