Seattle is home to the country’s second largest Somali population. See photographs by teen members of Seattle's Somali community and Seattle University photographers/mentors Claire Garoutte and Saheed Adejumobi in the exhibition Our Children, Our Voices, on view at City Hall July 5-Sept. 5.
Consisting of 40 photographs by 12 artists, Our Children, Our Voices reveals perspectives of local Somali youth on questions of cross-cultural identity, citizenship, education, assimilation and immigration. Through oral histories and photography, the multi-layered narrative focuses on early childhood education and first-generation youth.
The show highlights the agency, activism and self-representation of these two segments of a vibrant and sometimes misrepresented population. Many photographers on display, all under the age of 18, captured these images while participating in a summer photography workshop at Seattle University for Somali first-generation youth.
Also on view in this exhibition are portraits of community members and project participants by Garoutte, Adejumobi, and fellow community photographers Gurey Faarah, Hodan Sheikh and Nafiso Samatar.
The team created this community-driven documentary endeavor over the past two years. The work was inspired by an interdisciplinary, community-based research project of Seattle University faculty and members of the Somali/Oromo Cultural and Character Education Group and Neighborhood House at Yesler Terrace, part of Seattle Housing Authority.
Both families and staff identified the need for better cross-cultural dialog with the larger Seattle community and discussion on child rearing, identity and education within the Somali community.
An artists’ reception will be held July 24, from 3-5 p.m. at City Hall's Boards and Commissions Conference Room L280.