A Somali artist works in the Centre for Research and Dialogue (CRD) art studio in the Wadajir District of the Somali capital Mogadishu. During the occupation of the city by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group Al Shabaab up until August 2011, many Somali artists were either forced to work in secret or stop practising their art all together for fear of retribution and punishment by the extremist group who were fighting to overthrow the internationally-recognised then transitional government and implement a strict and harsh interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.

After 20 years of near-constant conflict, Mogadishu and large areas of Somalia are now enjoying the longest period of peace in years after sustained military operations by the Somali National Army (SNA) backed by the forces of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forced Al Shabaab to retreat from many areas of the country precipitating something of a renaissance for Somali artists and business, commerce, sports and civil liberties and freedoms flourishing once again.