Artists in Somalia have resurfaced from their hideouts and are now painting in the open. Until recently these artists working here at Mogadishu.

Art, sports and all other forms of entertainment were forbidden by al Qaeda linked extremist group al-Shabaab, whose time in power from 2006 is considered one of the most repressive since Somalia’s troubles began in 1991.

Not only did artists receive death threats, the late Abdulkadir Yahya Ali, a prominent peace activist,  was killed in his home by suspected al-Shabaab fighters.

The East African country now has an interim constitution, parliament and president – Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. Not only will they have to rebuild Somalia’s institutions and infrastructure, they will also have to inspire and educate their populace about the various rights and privileges they were denied under al-Shabaab.

Most of the artists’ work supports this effort as their work not only depicts the country’s violent past but also hope for the future.

Some artists say an empty canvas can be a very intimidating thing – but Ahmed Mohamed Mudey knows exactly what he wants to paint today.


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