Peace through Art: Artist launching Nairobi exhibition to celebrate Somali culture

Plans are underway to showcase Somali culture and history in Nairobi through an exhibition, according to Ali Said Hassan, the organizer.

Hassan, who was the first person to establish a photo studio in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1975, is currently in the country to finalize the date and month for the exhibition.

Ali Said Hassan speaking at a Nairobi hotel where he said that he was planning to host an exhibition on Somali culture in Nairobi city.[Collins Kweyu,Standard]

Speaking to The Nairobian at a Nairobi hotel, Hassan explained that through his Golol Art Gallery, he has been able to exhibit his work on Somalia in Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

Hassan, who is now a German national after living in different European countries following the eruption of civil war in his former country, graduated in film and lighting from the Centre of Cinematographic in Rome, Italy after undergoing training between 1972-1975.

He was also the first Somali man to produce calendars in Mogadishu when he returned to the country from Italy.

Despite the existence of a government-owned film agency known as Somali Film Agency, Hassan owned a private company.

His company had 22 employees, many of them youths whom he trained and nurtured in the area of artistic work like painting. However, Hassan revealed that all his work, including negatives, paintings, and cameras, was looted and destroyed during the civil war. He said he lost more than 13,000 negatives.

Part of the exhibition that Hassan will showcase involves promoting peace through art, and for it to happen, he believes there needs to be real reconciliation in Somalia.

This needs to come from the grassroots to the national level through building confidence among all the clans in Somalia.

Hassan hopes that intellectuals and entrepreneurs from the Somali community will attend and speak on matters concerning the community during the exhibition in Nairobi.

"If the Nairobi exhibition succeeds, it will be made an annual event," said Hassan, who now resides in England and works for an NGO that deals with the Somali community.

He added that his exhibition will be free of charge, and the artistic work that will be exhibited is not for sale.

According to Hassan, the exhibition will help expunge the belief that every Somali person is a terrorist or an Al-Shabaab terrorist and show that Somalia also has a good culture and some positive aspects.

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