Nomadic Pop is the foundation and influence; Digital Fusion is the sequence development that satisfies the outcome of the work. Both combined become one. Nomadic Pop is first produced through watercolour drawings that are then developed further in the second stage of Digital Fusion. I use picture-editing applications from my IPhone 5 to digitally manipulate images. I am interested in notions of ownership, the role of technology, consumer authority and what role the individual plays in voicing their own narratives. Nomadic Pop begins to look at “Nomadism”, which can be described as a search for an authentic Somali-ness. (to see more, follow my previous post – Manifesto – Digital Fusion & Nomadic Pop)
To further understand this,
- Nomadic Pop : Internal outlook on the concept – nomadic state of mind, ‘hido iyo dhaqan’ (heritage and culture of Somalis) and traditional element of fine art: drawing and painting.
- Digital Fusion : External outlook on the concept – the element of fusion, ‘digital-force’ and bringing worlds together.
To start, I would like to share and explore concept of Digital Fusion & Nomadic Pop, by adding relatable terms and keywords that drive this project. This is shown below, were I break the words into ‘sub-terms’ and give a thorough explanation. After this, I will give an insight how I have developed the artwork in stages. (and also how this is guided by the concept of Digital Fusion & Nomadic Pop)
Key words to note
• Transition + transformation of Somali people. (now and then, from Somalia to the diaspora)
• Adaptable progression, particlarly looking at renowned Somali models, how they have blended in their new environments, spaces inside the diaspora, but still kept in touch with their heritage and culture – even if some of them don’t, I imagine them to be.
• Some aspects/points of the text might relate to the concept of Afro-Futurism.
• Storytelling and myths, to create mythical characters (or to recreate Somali mythology) – and to further look into the unique qualities of these mythical characters that shape this new world.
- Nomadic Pop is the foundation and the start of Digital Fusion.
- Digital Fusion is the ‘predecessor’ and the ‘final outcome’ of the whole concept.
Digital: is ‘consumer authority’ and the ‘final outcome’ of my imaginative world, my dream. The power to google images freely and access the internet (digital universe) with ease. I can manipulate, destroy, create, break, control, repair, construct and deconstruct – this is relevant in the physical and mental state of the nomad.
Fusion: is to fuse, to blend, to merge the new with the old. Bring past and new generations together. It is forgotten culture for the young, it is patience for all, trying to reconnect to a place we can call ‘home’ (my dream). Where is this home? The dream of this project is to bring people together, to challenge, find comfort, ease and understanding.
Nomadic: is quite similar to ‘Fusion‘ but ‘Nomadic’ references the older generation and the global understanding of the nomadic character. One that has no place to call home, ‘placeless’ but walks from place to place, as a symbol of long term progression/process to find home in oneself.
I am redefining this through my personal experience (as a modern-day nomad) but also through my practise.
Pop: is the founding father of ‘Digital’ it is bright, colourful and glamorous. It is happiness, pink bubbles, ‘rich in space’ and celebration.
It is Warhol inspired, but not yet focussing on the material gadgets and must-haves but this project is giving more value to the figures/characters that shape this new world.
The project also looks at the golden era of Somalia (this could be from medieval Somalia to the current reconstruction of Somalia) , however I am particularly intersted in the post-colonial era of Mogadishu – also looking at Somali currency, vintage photography and post cards. (and again, how this links with the idea of borrowing cultures, entering new/odd spaces, diaspora and the western influence that has shaped the landscape of Somalia. Moreover, my dream envisions hope, I look back and listen to my parents and grandparents, how they had experienced ‘good times’ and shared romance and freedom – and how this dream can be lived again. (by generations to come)
The concept of this project also looks at modernisation and educating the new generation – that we as Somalis once lived free in prestige lifestyles and we danced wearing traditional attires – together in unity.(without any extreme religious/ideologic intervention)
Finally, it is all about celebrating forgotten times that we have left deep in our closets, buried deep in our cupboards that house us in the diaspora.
Digital Fusion & Nomadic Pop is celebrating times when men, women and children would stage to take pictures in front of imaginative ‘praised spaces’ and backgrounds. Was this something we couldn’t reach? Something we had in our lands but not cherished? (like our captivating nature: palm trees and sandy beaches) or was this something we imagined ourselves to be in?(in times of war, corruption and western imperialism) A dream?
They were more than selfies, these photographs were carefully set to document times of Somalia (times of peace) but also to share great moments with family/friends and distant relatives from the diaspora.
Just as Warhol was inspired by his environment and the lifestyle of consumerism, that which is now called Pop art. I am simarlarly interested in my environment and how we are changing as people, moving from place to place (focussing on the transition of borrowing different cultures) and adapting to new and odd spaces.
This is my journey of finding myself through this project, even though I’m not trying to find my roots in some way but feel enclosed between two distant cultures and feel more leaning towards my the land that I live in currently but I dream to reconnect to the land that ‘let’s my soul speak’ – in the process of ‘finding my place’ I would want to learn from the people that still have significant hold within the Somali culture, community and history.
For me “Nomadism” has unshackled itself from its traditional territorial borders by flowing within the current sphere of globalisation and through the diaspora. With the diaspora it has maintained its character by morphing into a ‘trans-border’ entity. This is in part why it has survived well into the 21st century. By combining the old and the new it has mutated into its current shape and this is reflected in my work, my dream.
So moreover, my dream ventures to capture this new world of togetherness and celebration. The concept of “Nomadism” transforms the narratives of Digital Fusion & Nomadic Pop through personal levels and relating with Somalis alike.
There are different definitions in defining “Nomadism” – I try to capture my definition through visual stories and imaginative figures that I create. I see them as folk tales and characters with individual personalities. So in fact, I am taking different aspects of my time and the times of my ancestors, by then creating a world where all generations can coexist.
‘The Crooked Swan, Jasmin Warsame’ (2014)
‘The Green Qalanjo, Ayan Elmi’ (2014)
‘Vogue Miya?’ (2014)
‘She Lived Before Cleopatra, Iman’ (2014)
‘Diva Dahab’ (2014)
‘Dr Hawa Abdi’ (2014)
‘Our Child’ (2014)
‘Tales of The Sleepless Nomad, Classic in No-Man’s Land’ (2014)
‘Geeraar for The Forgotten Youth of The Diaspora’ (2014)
‘Sugraad, The Revolutionary Wizard’ (2014)
‘A character of Home’ (2014)
Text and work by Ahmed Magare
Facebook: Ahmed Magare