by Sue Lacy
Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah: Community In-Between
In this story: images, interactive demo video, a listing of project participants, and links to related press and projects.
About the Exhibit
Aug 8 - Nov 3, 2017 at Dublin Arts Council, 7125 Riverside Dr., Dublin OH
This layered, interactive photography exhibition seeks to recognize fifteen young Somali trailblazers in the central Ohio community. A large, expressive portrait of each person hangs on the wall. A smaller image brings that person to life by delivering a video narrative to your phone or iPad (see demo below.) In the center of the room, a long table holds fifteen white binders full of additional profile information and images. The space also includes video of a Chowder the Poet performance, Somali objects and artifacts, and several stations allowing visitors to interact further with the exhibit.
Dublin Arts Council has also partnered with area schools to bring class field trips to the exhibit, saying “Docent-led gallery tours will allow students to engage critically with the exhibition." The program includes in-school and in-gallery workshops to guide students to explore their own cultural histories and migration to Columbus. Additional community support includes stories in area publications including the Columbus Dispatch, Dublin Villager / ThisWeek Community News, CityScene magazine, a book by The Ohio State University Press and more.
Most images on display are the work of two talented young Somali women, Faduma Hasan and Marian (Asia) Nuur. They are both recent graduates of Columbus area high schools. Guest Preparators / Curators Qorsho Hassan and Ruth Smith conducted research and developed materials for the project. This work includes a companion book published by The Ohio State University Press.
You'll find a collection of linked resources at the end of this story. The most important link is an online archive of ALL the exhibit's images and videos, and much of the extended content, to enjoy at your leisure. Another is the Facebook page for Urur Dhex-Dhexaad; here are a few images from its Opening Reception photo album (photos courtesy of Dublin Arts Council):
A closer look at the interactive experience
Video is woven into the exhibit through the artful use of technology. Each large portrait is accompanied by a small trigger image that delivers video to your phone or iPad using an app called Aurasma. In this way, these Somali trailblazers are able to share their experiences through personal video narratives. This layered approach offers viewers a new perspective on the photograph, and a deeper experience overall. Dublin Arts Council offers several iPads pre-loaded with the app for visitors to use. Complimentary recyclable earbuds are also available, as well as a large over-the-ear set appropriate for those with hearing aids. The image and video below demonstrate how this video feature looks, and how it works.
Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah, which means a Community In-Between,
derives its name from a maahmaah/proverb: dhex iyo dhexaad / betwixt and between.
As more Somalis come of age as American citizens, including those born in other locations across the diaspora and a rising second generation of Somali-Americans, the conversation turns from issues connected to survival and assimilation to those of identity, community participation, and belonging. This new generation of Somali-Americans describes the community where they feel like they belong as one in-between—in between identities, nations, generations, languages, cultures, and communities.
-- from the project's Extended Content
Participants (15 Somali trailblazers)
Ahmed Ali, Political organizer and community worker; Ismahan, Kinship coordinator and co-founder of SELF of Ohio; Khalid Moalim, Journalist and filmmaker; Ladan Haji, Mental health practitioner; Nima, Economist, analyst for Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and co-founder of Refuge, an online peer-to-peer mentoring program for refugee youth; Chowder the Poet, Poet and student; Ilhan, Fulbright recipient, Rhodes scholar, and writer; Muhamed A., Founder of Somali Youth Foundation and ambassador for Walaal Afuri in Columbus; Nadira, Registered nurse; Shukri, Franklin Country sheriff's deputy; Hoda, Psychiatrist; Ibrahim, Anesthesiologist; I.C., Photographer and mechanic; Mohamed Rage, Industrial designer and cofounder of FiveID design studio; Qorsho, Educator and community activist / researcher.
Community Artists and Curators
Qorsho Hassan, Guest Preparator / Curator; Ruth Smith, Ph.D., Guest Preparator / Curator; Marian (Asia) Nuur, photographer and recent graduate of Hilliard Bradley High School; Faduma Hasan, photographer and recent graduate of Westerville Central High School; Aafi Hassan, photographer and videographer; Farxiya Maxamed Cabduallahi Jaamac (Riya Jama), Toronto-based diasporic visual storyteller.
Dublin Arts Council
The Dublin Arts Council at 7125 Riverside Drive in Dublin, OH provides an idyllic setting for this important photography exhibition. Built on a hill overlooking the Scioto River in 1941, the beautiful stone building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is, itself, a destination worth seeing. For the full experience, plan a little extra time to walk the grounds and enjoy the outdoor sculptures.
Where to find more
A note about multiple reading options: Links requiring a Columbus Dispatch subscription may also be accessible in text-only format through your library. Go to www.columbuslibrary.org/research, choose Columbus Dispatch: Electronic Edition, and login with your Columbus Metropolitan Library credentials.
Dublin Arts Council -- VIEW EXHIBIT CONTENT
The Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah: Community In-Between exhibit at the Dublin Arts Council runs Aug 8 - Nov 3, 2017. If you're reading this after the event closes, there is good news! The images, videos and much of the extended content is archived online.
The official project Facebook page-- VISIT PAGE
Follow the project on Facebook for news, video and images. From the About page: This photography project is based on telling the stories of young Somali individuals who are in the process of positively impacting the community in the fields of education, politics, business, research and the arts. Their narratives will illuminate the contributions of these role models and will provide an opportunity for non-Somalis to better understand the Somali community. This project will create media diversity and promote interaction in public spaces.
The Ohio History Connection and Dublin Arts Council -- VIEW STORY
Community Conversations: New Americans in Central Ohio
Join the Ohio History Connection and Dublin Arts Council for a series of community conversations with the New American community of central Ohio. Conversations will take place on a variety of topics at locations around Columbus. Facilitators will begin the conversation with introductory information about the topic from their perspective before facilitating a discussion with the group. Series topics include Resettlement and Afterwards; Integrating New Americans into Law Enforcement; Education and New American Students; Integrating New Americans into Political Action; Mental Health and Wellness in the New American Community; and Integration, Immigration and Identity, The link above includes topic descriptions and schedule.
Columbus Dispatch -- VIEW STORY
Dublin exhibit shows Somali immigrants integrated into central Ohio
By Nancy Gilson
Posted Sep 10, 2017
This story begins with a question. "Among U.S. cities, Columbus is second only to Minneapolis in the number of Somali immigrants. But how many of us really know our Somali neighbors?" The author shares many quotes and images from the exhibit, and goes on to say, "In their videos and narratives, all 15 discuss the challenges of assimilating into American society, the devotion they feel to the United States as well as Somalia, and the rigorous emphasis their parents put on education."
Dublin Villager / ThisWeek Community News -- VIEW STORY
Community In-Between: Exhibit depicts Somali-American role models
By Sarah Sole
This is a thoughtful, in-depth look at the project, including participant quotes and conversations. An example is Ilhan Dahir, age 24. Her parents fled Somalia as refugees to Canada, where she was born, before relocating to Columbus to join family. As an OSU student, Ilhan worked on diversity inititiatives. The story goes on to say, "She also served as an intern with the Ohio Democratic Party, working on Sen. Sherrod Brown’s campaign with people from disparate backgrounds but similar government goals... Now a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, Dahir wants to use her time there to learn about institutions working for marginalized people on a global scale and find ways to give them additional solutions."
August 2017 City Scene
Model Citizens / Augmented reality helps patrons connect with Somali role models in integration-focused exhibit (print magazine). Story on p. 22; event listing on p. 59
by Jake Nerone
Dublin Arts Council: Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah: Community In-Between, a photography exhibition exploring immigration, integration and identity featuring portraits of 15 central Ohio Somali role models, from Aug. 8 - Nov. 3. www.dublinarts.org. (Story appeared online as Somali role models on display at Dublin Arts Council.)
The Somali Community Association of Ohio (SCAO) is a leading voice for Somali immigrants and refugees in Central Ohio.