Somalia often conjures up images of violence and destruction but a photography exhibition in the capital, Mogadishu, sets out not only to challenge that perception but also to recast who is defining those images in the first place, as the BBC's Mary Harper reports. On a big white wall in a hotel compound hangs a series of calm, intimate portraits by two female Somali photographers. She says that when she is filming on the streets, men often shout at her, telling her she should be indoors rather than embarrassing herself in public. She says that photography in Somalia is considered a man's trade "especially when it comes to street photography.
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A Girl from Mogadishu | Edinburgh International Film Festival
Ifrah Ahmed refuses to let the horrific female genital mutilation she suffered at the age of eight define her. A Girl from Mogadishu has just had its UK premiere at the Edinburgh film festival and will be released across the UK in cinemas later this year. In the first 10 minutes it shows Aja Naomi King, who plays Ahmed as a year-old girl, being violently gang-raped by Somali militants. After that, she makes the dangerous journey from Somalia to Ireland to seek asylum, too scared to question anything her male smugglers want her to do. Upon her arrival, a male gynaecologist examines her and tries to find out what has happened to her, but she has no words to explain it to the male translator, just tears. But then, about halfway through, with the help of other women, she starts to find her voice.
Somalia photography: 'I want it to be normal for women to take photos'
No - we will not let you go - let him go Bismillah. We will not let you go - let him go Bismillah. We will not let you go - let me go Will not let you go - let me go (never) Never let you go - let me go Never let me go - ooo No, no, no, no, no, no, no - Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me for me for me. Ooh yeah, ooh yeah Nothing really matters Anyone can see Nothing really matters - nothing really matters to me. Anyway the wind blows.