Somalia has rich artistic culture which expresses the lifestyle of both historic and contemporary era of the Somali people. These include artistic traditions in pottery, music, oratory, storytelling aka (sheeko baraley), architecture, sculptures and other genres. Somalia’s art is mainly influenced by the Islamic religion and much of the arts is related to the Arabian style or culture. However, there have been cases in the past of artistic depictions representing living creatures such as the golden birds on the Mogadishan canopies, the ancient rock paintings in the northern part of the country, and the plant decorations on religious tombs in southern Somalia.
Historically, Somalis were known for their artistic expressions, some of them dating back and pre-historic rock painting. For instance, the rock of Laas Geel is considered to be one of the best-preserved art in the continent, representing cows in ceremonial robes together with humans. The cow’s neck is decorated with plastron and it is visible up until today.
Painting and drawings were also among the most popular forms of Somali arts. During Siyad Barre’s time this was mainly used as a method of teaching people on patriotism, nationalism and serving their country unconditionally. Poetry, oratory, and music has also shaped the artistic culture of the Somali people. Some of the songs were even used to embolden Somali soldiers when they were fighting with enemies. Amin Amir is one of the notable living example of Somali artists with his drawings published on his website.
If I were an artist, I would have used my artistic expression to win over youths and the whole Somalia community hearts by preaching the good and change the bad in the society. Some of the ways would be.
Despite the fact that procrastination is the thing that can hold back someone to be successful and productive; it doesn’t mean that a person doesn’t know what he want to do and what he needs to do, but he is off somewhere else by obsessing his mind doing less important things. If I were an artist I wouldn’t only use my artistic career to compose love and entertainment songs, but instead, I would write down work songs that motivate youth to work hard and device showcases and events for the intent of inspiring youth against procrastinations and dawdling. Inspiration is a tool and it can be remedy for the procrastination of problem. For the artistic talent; I would use to praise the education and censure the ignorance, to compliment the scholar and undermine the illiteracy, inspire the youth against vagrant, violent, and glue sniffing. The flair for writing I have; I would instruct the youth that they would be future parents and in order not to compromise the well-being of their siblings, they should learn and work hard.
If I were an artist, I would devote to compose poems and patriotic songs and instill the youth to think about the development making the country Elysium place. Like the Somali great artist Geywarow who created a beautiful inspirational songs of labor, I would compose awakening songs that can arouse the youth from the sleeping. For the privilege that the creator endowed me as an artist, I would encourage the civic education to include poems and songs that can take part the upbringing of the young generation during the early school start times. Through social media and the local broadcast, I would disseminate messages that touches everyone’s feeling especially the youth, telling the young generation that the time is like a sword and it is better to use wisely before it elapses. Steve Jobs, the American businessman once said “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life”, so everyone should build his own dreams and act on it accordingly, instead of working someone else’s dream. As an artist, I would guide the youth to the good dreams, before they regret and shed tears for the time they wasted.
If I were an artist, I would start up community-based institution which will host films, music, theater programmes, writing programmes, drawing programmes, local library and the likes. The institution will be run by volunteers who will support the events as they happen and provide creative support to those willing to learn and grow within the industry especially youths. This will eventually encourage locals, national and international volunteers to lend a hand in development of the artistic industry which will honor the culture, history and traditions of the Somali people and produce artistic programmes which will combat intolerance by uniting Somali people.
If I were an artist, I would promote Summer or after school volunteer artistic programmes which will be through hand expression. This programme will have special projects and programmes to develop youth’s artistic skills which will incorporate youth development practices while improving their life skills, self-expressions, self-image and social commitments. This will provide a sense of direction and participation in marking arts possible tool to nourish young and fresh minds, expressing their interests and able to take risks in trying new ideas. The summer programme will increase artistic engagement in focus, skills and used as problem solving/critical thinking to be reflective and finding solutions to the society challenges.
If I were an artist I would strengthen identity by building confidence of youths and develop community by increasing support and belonging to where one develops a positive bond, respect for others and most importantly ability to work with diverse set of people. I would work with other artists to find opportunities, exchange ideas and work together to create something in the community which will gain recognition, appreciation and acknowledged for an achievement, service or ability in the eyes of the Somali community. Lastly, I would develop a positive view of the future by internalizing about the outcomes for one’s life and increase ability to set short term and long term goals especially in education and employment.
Inspiring professional artists should play an integral part in the creative and artistic lives of both the young people and the adults who work with them in informal settings within and outside Somalia. The artists should have responsibilities of nurturing creativity and artistic expression to young people who will eventually have the opportunity to develop their potential for great creative and artistic expression. The artists and art educators should deliver after evaluating range of exciting artistic interventions from workshops, action research and from one to one interviews which will prop out the needs of the youths which will later on be sufficient and personal fulfillment of community engagement and lead to connection between Somali people. Artistic programs yield positive outcomes in skills development, personal development, and a greater understanding of society and the youth’s place in it.
1. Bisharo Ali Hussein
2. Abdifatah Hassan Ali
3. Deqa Ahmed Osman
4. Elmi Hassan Samatar