UK: Somali festival in London focuses on arts censorship



Somalia / Somaliland / United Kingdom:
Somali festival in London focuses on arts censorship

This year’s Somali Week Festival in London will focus on censorship of art, showcasing a mix of poetry, prose literature, plays and music, while also allowing ample time for discussions between artists, professional guests and audiences.

“It is a very complex but also dangerous situation now for artist in Somalia and Somaliland, especially within the field of music and drama. That is one of the main reasons why we set up Kayd: to promote arts and culture as human right issues. We believe that if we don’t do something now, it might be too late soon,” said managing director Ayan Mahamoud to Freemuse.

The Somali Week Festival is an established festival within the Somali community in London, nationally and internationally. It celebrates and explores the uniqueness of Somali art and culture. The festival is organised by Kayd Somali Arts and Culture in partnership with, and a range of national, international and local community organisations.

Festival in Somaliland
On 22–26 July 2009, Kayd organised the Mooge Festival in Hargeysa, Somaliland — with the same theme, censorship.

“We wish to contribute to the creation of a culture of tolerance in the context of an appreciation of the richness of Somali culture. We want to build up the Somali Week Festival and to hold Mooge Festival annually in Hargeysa, but it is so difficult to get enough support as no one really seems to understand how difficult and important this is,” said Ayan Mahamoud.

The role of art
Somali Week Festival 2009 will explore the theme of arts censorship and creative freedom of expression throughout the extensive programme of events. Whilst the festival’s programming aims to celebrate the artist’s creativity, it will also discuss the important role that art can play within society.

On 23 October 2009 the festival will be opened by the Deputy Mayor of London, Richard Barnes, and launched by Ahmed Saleebaan Bidde while the theme of the festival will beintroduced by Rashid Sheekh Abdullahi.

Somali Week Festival
Oxford House, London
23-31 October 2009

Somaliland (orange) and Somalia (yellow)


The festival programme in full:
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Kayd’s official website: – July 2009:

‘Mooge Festival’

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