Meet Nujuum Hashi Ahmed, The Somalia Painter Who Uses Art To Promote Peace In Her Country



Her earliest memory of her home country, Somalia, is of her family desperately fleeing the war in 2007. They arrived in Hargeisa, Somaliland, which was not internationally recognized.

Nujuum Hashi Ahmed enrolled in nursing school and began working at the Hargeisa General Hospital. According to Anadolu Agency, her heart was in painting. Her father was an anesthesiologist, but she remembered his paintings fondly. Ahmed, who is now a famous painter, believes her love of painting stems from her father’s painting and drawing in their compound.

Ahmed stated that her father loved to paint but never showed his work to the public. Everything was kept in the closet. When she was perfecting her art, she wore a hat that allowed her to attend to the sick during her working hours and another that allowed her to place her cherished memories of Somalia in art when she got home.

Today, her paintings are about Somalia’s everyday dreams and shared aspirations. Her artistic themes are about peace and a rallying cry for the end of the war in Somalia. She believes that once the conflict is over, people will have enough food and the youth will be able to pursue their dreams.

She began her paintings as roadside murals and anywhere people wanted to learn about Somalia’s plight and the devastating impact of the war on women and children. The European Union diplomatic office in Somalia, inspired by her work, commissioned her to create murals for them.

Aside from preaching peace, the Somali artist uses her art to advocate for women’s rights and political representation. She also believes that it is important for future generations to understand their culture and history, and she is unafraid to pursue this goal.

Ahmed stated that if she had to choose between nursing and painting, she would choose the latter because it has been her passion since childhood. People should look beyond her paintings to appreciate the positive image she is weaving around her country, she says, rather than opposing the ideals she stands for.

She also has other ambitions, such as teaching others and empowering them to become productive members of society. She is a COVID-19 survivor who recently used art to raise awareness of the disease in Somalia.

The Hargeisa Cultural Center houses many of the Somali artist’s paintings.


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