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Friday August 18th 2017

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“SAMATABAXDAY” (survivor)

12.10a v38#5 warda1

Amged (Alpha Kemet) Yusuf, poet, abstract artist, and Coordinator of the Backyard Initiative Project S.E.L.F. CHAT team provided The Alley Newspaper with this information about this piece- “SAMATABAXDAY”(survivor):

In our native language, “Warda” means flower. She is the symbol of all the women in our Backyard Initiative Citizen Health Action Team (CHAT) and the Somali community at large. And she has a story that’s often voiceless, unheard in an all-male dominated environment that needs to be told over and over again. The image is an artistic expression of the Warda’s story illustrated by myself and produced through a process of discovery and deep conversation with members of Project S.E.L.F.

Back home, when the day is over and the sun goes down, we use to gather in a circle around an elder and listen to inspiring tales full of wisdom to sustain us all for generations to come. There is something meaningful and healing in storytelling and we continue to use our ancestors oral traditions to communicate cohesively about the “elephants in the room” including our own “warda’s” of the world, the true source of a healthy community. I have included some of the words from our own Warda’s:”

Warda: “I was a 15 year old young woman when the war started and ever since I’ve been deprived of my childhood.”

Warda: “In the war, I lost 3 of my children, I gave birth to my youngest in a refugee camp. Now my baby is a university graduate.”

Warda: “I miss my homeland, but the connectedness and support we have here in Minneapolis makes it feel like little-Somalia for my family and me.”

Upcoming projects from project SELF:

We are working on a Nomadic Expression spoken word and storytelling CD entitled S.O.M.A.L.I (Soundtrack Of My Abstract Life Interrupted) It is a compilation work from various Backyard Initiative Somali poets/artists. (Due for online release late summer.) Look us up as Project S.E.L.F on Facebook, reach us through the Cultural Wellness Center, 612-721-5745 or call the Project Self community phone line, (612)702-0307.

Project S.E.L.F (Save, Educate, Liberate and Free) is a Backyard Initiative Community Health Action Team (CHAT) that focuses to bring together youth, elders and families from the Somali- American Diaspora in and around the” Backyard” to address conditions and create awareness to support a sustainable community through dialogue, cultural approaches and artistic expression. 

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