Somali Art Unleashed: Embrace the Vision for Development on World Audiovisual Heritage Day

A blog by the UNDP Accelerator Lab in Somalia

October 5, 2023

The UNDP Accelerator Lab invites you to participate in a unique celebration of World Audiovisual Heritage Day. 

This event aims to recognize and showcase the rich cultural heritage of Somalia through the lens of contemporary audiovisual art. 

We encourage all artists to contribute to this celebration by submitting their works that explore the intersection of art and development. 

You can take part in our exhibition, which is scheduled for October 27th, by filling out the application provided below (link).

Bridging Art and Somali Culture: A Development Perspective

Art and media have held a significant position in the heart of Somali culture and history. Throughout generations, the Somali people have upheld a longstanding tradition of storytelling, passing down cultural stories and poetry. This cultural richness has not only preserved the past but has also given birth to a vibrant Somali mythology, featuring iconic characters such as Dhegadheer, Araweelo, and Cigaal-Shidaad, who have dynamically assumed roles in ever-evolving narratives.

Aligned with this cultural heritage, the Accelerator Lab is taking the initiative to organize an exhibition that celebrates artists of all ages. 

Our vision is that this showcase will serve as a melting pot for diverse talents, encompassing content creators, digital storytellers, photographers, traditional storytellers, poets, and social media influencers. 

We firmly believe that artists play a pivotal role as catalysts in a transformative exchange that not only brings hope, practicality, and the potential for change but also allows them to draw insights from traditional perspectives, thereby enriching their own artistic endeavors.

This cross-cultural exchange and learning endeavor are designed to foster a wellspring of creativity and innovation. It is our firm belief that this newfound creativity can be harnessed to address critical development issues, including peace, justice, reconciliation, and socio-economic challenges that impact both individuals and communities. Additionally, it presents an opportunity to engage with environmental concerns, thus establishing a holistic development perspective.

The Exhibition 

Experience a two-day exhibition filled with engaging activities. You'll witness captivating Somali mythology storytelling, live art creation through drawing and painting, and meaningful discussions between generations. In Somali society, stories are a key way to share news, cultural insights, wisdom, and important messages. Storytelling unites people, bridging gaps among those from different backgrounds.

By hosting this exhibition, we aim to bring together people with diverse experiences, fostering learning and creating valuable professional connections. It's an opportunity for individuals from all walks of life to come together.

Art and storytelling are potent tools for communication that can be used to support important causes such as peacebuilding, engaging citizens, addressing climate change, and promoting gender equality. 

Our hope is that this exhibition will provide Somali artists with a platform to showcase their work to interested organizations and individuals. This, in turn, can contribute to the advancement of both art and development in Somalia and beyond.


1. Recognizing Talent: Provide artists with a platform to present their work and gain recognition from UN initiatives, international organizations, local CSOs, and government institutions.

2. Marketplace for Creativity: Offer exhibitors an opportunity to showcase their products and services to a diverse audience, fostering potential partnerships and collaborations.

3. Facilitating Meaningful Discussions: Open the door to meaningful conversations on topics such as peacebuilding, engaging citizens, addressing climate change, and promoting gender equality.

4. Celebrating Diversity: Showcase the diversity within Somali oral tradition by introducing artists and poets who speak dialects and languages from different regions within Somalia.

Application Process:

To participate, please fill out the application form here and submit your work or share a link (up to 10 GB) by 17 October 2023.

Selection Process

This call for applications will remain open for a 14-day period, after which the selection process will commence. 

Our goal is to extend invitations to as many contributors as we can, with a focus on those who present the most compelling and impactful material and productions.

Selected participants will receive invitations to showcase their work at the UNDP exhibition in Mogadishu.

Join us in celebrating Somali art and culture while exploring the potential for positive change through audiovisual art. We look forward to your contributions and to the vibrant discussions that will emerge during this exciting event. 

Together, let's embrace heritage and envision a brighter future for Somalia.

For more info, contact: