Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Dublin exhibit shows Somali immigrants integrated into central Ohio?

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 Dublin Arts Council has taken a step toward introducing 15 extraordinary young men and women from the area who are of Somalian descent.

In “Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah: Community In-Between,” the council presents color portraits of the subjects along with first-person video stories, written narratives, photographs, Somali artifacts and maps detailing the immigrants’ worldwide journeys.

The exhibit, which continues through Nov. 3, focuses on integration and represents the first in a series of three. In 2018, a council exhibit will address the subject of immigration and, in 2019, identity.

“The response thus far has been extremely positive,” council spokeswoman Janet Cooper said. “I’m so pleased to see the substantial amount of time that gallery visitors are spending with the portraits and the additional content.”

Organizing the exhibit and creating the 123-page book that documents the project were Qorsho Hassan, an educator and researcher in the Somali community, and Ruth M. Smith, program coordinator of the Online Master’s in Art Education program at Ohio State University.

The color photographs are straight-on portraits of the subjects, who are mostly in their 20s and identified only by first name. Most of the photos were shot by two recent central Ohio high-school graduates, Asia Nuur and Faduma Hasan, who participated in a workshop to learn their skills.

Most of the subjects are first- or second-generation immigrants, and each is remarkable in various ways.

For example:

• Nima Dahir, 21, is a graduate of Ohio State University who will be doing economics research at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

• Ilhan Dahir, 23 (sister of Nima), also an Ohio State graduate, is a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England studying refugees, migration, global governance and diplomacy.

• Hoda Hassan, 27, a medical student at the University of Toledo, is specializing in child psychiatry.

• Ahmed Shukri, 21, who moved to the United States when he was 4, became the first Somali deputy sheriff in Franklin County in 2015.

• Ibrahim A. Warsame, 27, attended medical school at the University of Toledo and is now an anesthesiologist.

By Nancy Gilson

Nagala Soo Xiriir

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