Farmaajo: We Have No One Else to Blame
Aslan pictures and art works exhibited here are showing a general account of all Somalia, especially, the environment, the culture, and the understanding of the Somali people. In these pictures, one can sometimes draw from happiness and other times sadness.
The pictures presented here show us both clear portrait, and imaginary shadow figure; nevertheless, interpret the real life of the Somali people.
Let us take an example of the problems faced by the Somali people due to water scarcity:
Water shortage in Somalia has always been there and has never changed. There is a little rain fall in Somalia, and when it rains, the water is rapidly absorbed in the ground. Hence, some of the Aslan pictures convey this water shortage problem.
For the Somali people, rain is a symbol of prosperity and they celebrate when the rainy season starts, whereas, in Europe people start complaining about the rain and say “it is bad time, because you cannot go out”.
These portraits show the wide-ranging picturesque of Mogadishu, its markets, and the suburbs.
We must also acknowledge the innate creativity of the Somali artists which originates from the Somali culture.
One of the Aslan pictures is showing a flock of sheep relaxing early morning in a sheep fence (xero), herded by a thinly built man. In the picture, the Somali Artists indicate the troubles and hardships endured by the Somali people during the dictatorial regime which had ruled the country. The extent of indoctrination and conditioning to the people was so great that the people could not move on forward up to this present day, and do not know how to rebuild their shattered life.
This kind of art display can be described as an adventurous journey through which the history, life, and culture of the Somalia people is closely observed. The message conveyed by these pictures can sometimes leave one’s mental healthy permanently scarred; and other times, it can be a complete imagination gone too far but still passing on deeply rooted meaning.
Currently, both Somali and non Somali people have the opportunity to view these artifacts which has been quite a pain-staking piece of work to produce. Sometimes, photographs were taken by camera and then painted by the artists. The artists were not only encouraged to transform the photographs into a paint picture but also instilled ideas, assisted with art materials and equipments which were not easy to find.
This art work has been put together by Mr. Ali Said Hassan, who has been working very hard to produce these beautiful artifacts since 1979. In 1988, he opened Golol Art Gallery Centre in Mogadishu, the only one art gallery in the entire country. The centre was established in order to encourage the artists and expand the Shadow Art of Somalia to an internationally acclaimed standard.
To achieve the objectives mentioned above, the work of Golol Art Gallery Centre is now directed to: Collecting the pictures, restoring and preserving them, and displaying them in the Golol Art Gallery Centre.
Two years after the establishment of the Golol Art Gallery Centre, Somalia’s civil war had started. Before the war, Golol Art Gallery Centre had 138 pictures. Only 70 pictures were saved, and the rest were looted.
These pictures gathered here are heredity to all Somali people and humanity at large - because, it shows a history of a whole nation on the verge of extinction both culturally and in existence.
Derived from: Art Critic
Andrea A. Pierno
International Academy of Modern Art
I read your article on Foreign Policy with keen eyes and interest. While whining from public officials does not deserve response from any sensible citizen of the Republic of Somalia, I felt compelled to counter false narrative with more objective analysis.