Cornered Energies: Youth Culture in Somaliland

Cornered Energies: Youth Culture in Somaliland

Cornered Energies is a project by Somali digital artist and photographer Mustafa Saeed. This multimedia digital project contains photos and recorded audio that portray the daily lives and experiences of young Somalis.

Mustafa Saeed is a photographer and graphic/sound artist living in Hargeisa, the second largest city in Somalia and capital of the self-declared independent Somaliland. His work, mixing different media, looks at war, conflict and the surrounding environment. In Cornered Energies, a series of visuals and short interviews, he explores the issue of youth self-expression in a place where shared spaces for expression are lacking.

Poetry is one of the oldest forms of expression in Somali culture and history. Somalis are people of an oral society, which is continuously being revived with new attempts in different styles and on different subjects. The younger generation is picking from that in a very good way.

Neon Somali expression, Mashallah News

Cornered Energies is about the non existence of platforms for youth in Somaliland/Somalia, and the lack of self-expression they face, and them ending being wasted energies. Photographing individuals in random spaces they spend their daily-lives in, I met different youth from different backgrounds to express their thoughts about being a cornered Energy.

We are all occupying different spaces; they may look the same or different but we are all filling them with soul and motion. It can be the home, the office, the school or a park; we are all highlights physical entity space emphasizing a body, which is filled with motions and emotions and is the physicality of each person’s actions. I tend to imagine all energies that fill us as neon-colored things.

“It seems that our ancient culture was more open than the one we have now. Youth today are not given any responsibilities and are treated like they are nothing.”

“We are cornered within our own fears, in small, virtual spaces. I feel that we are our own prisons. Youth in youth prisons. I have the courage to do things, but there are still unreasonable thoughts keeping me behind, stopping me from taking steps forward.”

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