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City exhibition features photographs by local Somali youth

Seattle is home to the United States’ second largest Somali population. See photographs by teen members of this community and photographers/mentors Claire Garoutte and Saheed Adejumobi from Seattle University in the exhibition Our Children, Our Voices. The exhibition is on view in the City Hall  Lobby Gallery and Anne Focke Gallery (located on the L-2 level of City Hall) through Sept. 5.

An opening reception will be 3 to 5 p.m., Tuesday, July 24, at City Hall’s Boards and Commissions Conference Room L280.

Consisting of 40 photographs by 12 artists, Our Children, Our Voices reveals perspectives of local Somali youth on 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 and highlights the agency, activism and self-representation of these two groups.

Also on view are portraits of community members and project participants by Garoutte. Garoutte, along with Saheed Yinka Adejumobi, Gurey Faarah, Hodan Sheikh and Nafiso Samatar, 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, a part of Seattle Housing Authority. The project 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.

Image: Ahmed Abdi, Portrait of Omar, 2011, 16 x 20 in., inkjet print. Taken during a summer photography workshop at Seattle University for Somali first generation youth.