2018 #45

The Anarchist Citizenship

by Nadine Stijns

Selected by
LhGWR,
The Hague, the Netherlands

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Selected by LhGWR,
The Hague, the Netherlands

"We want to offer a more nuanced perspective of the region, providing a stage for Somalilanders to take ownership of their own image."

Unseen Platform: Collaboration is an essential part of this project, not only between its initiators, but also with the people it depicts. How did the project first come about?

Nadine Stijns: When Amal showed me images she took during her 2014 visit to Somaliland, I instantly fell in love with the beautiful textiles worn by the women in the photographs. The Anarchist Citizenship emerged naturally from the conversations that followed. We’re interested in what daily life looks like for Somalilanders, so by collaborating with local artists and thinkers we sought to create a project that would be valued by the community – which is how Mustafa first became involved.

What’s anarchic about The Anarchist Citizenship?

Anarchist refers to the belief in abolishing government and the organisation of society on a cooperative basis without force or compulsion. Before colonialism and its violent consequences, Somalia practiced a form of voluntary self-governance. However, the civil war and the dissolution of the state of Somalia left it without authority, contributing towards the creation of the unrecognised state of Somaliland. For the past two decades, Somaliland has provided insight into alternative forms of governance whereby citizens themselves exert influence through democratic processes and networks. These alternative understandings of anarchism and nationalism are an elementary part of the project.

What do you hope to achieve with this work?

Most media platforms that write about Somalia don’t make the distinction between Somalia and Somaliland, and often focus solely on issues of piracy, terrorism and displacement. As a result, most Somalilanders feel misrepresented by international media. In our work, we document how citizenship is performed visually amidst the friction between nation-building and statelessness, the position of women and the role of feminism. We want to offer a more nuanced perspective of the region, providing a stage for Somalilanders to take ownership of their own image.

In the future, we hope that a cultural platform will emerge from this collaboration; a place for artistic and cultural production in Hargeisa that can provide a sustainable environment for the local artistic community.

Read more (1 min read)

Photo of The Anarchist Citizenship by Nadine Stijns

Photo of The Anarchist Citizenship by Nadine Stijns

Photo of The Anarchist Citizenship by Nadine Stijns

Nadine Stijns

The Hague, NL

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Nadine Stijns

The Hague, NL

Nadine Stijns (b. 1977, the Netherlands) works on long-term photographic projects fuelled by her acute awareness of tenuous socio-economic and political situations. Labour migration, diaspora communities and national identity in post-colonial regions are amongst the subjects she tackles. Stijns’ visual language adapts to the story that she wants to tell: a method that she translates to exhibitions, in which larger than life pictures, loose posters, maps and spatial installations can all be found. Through this particular artistic process, her presentations often result in site-specific installations.

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