November 20, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. CET
Can photography transform lives? Can it shape communities? Can he really change things?
This conference will explore how creativity in image-making and visual storytelling can help generate social transformation and shape identities. Three unique creativity trailblazers will guide us to explore how creativity can drive the building of our collective future.
Sagal Ali, is an art and cultural heritage professional. She specializes in arts and heritage in the aftermath of conflict. She holds a BA in African Language and Culture from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies from University College London (UCL).
Sagal’s ongoing work and research investigates the effectiveness of art and heritage in post-conflict reconstruction. She sees art and heritage not just as objects, monuments and practices – but rather as a risk, it is the revision and reconstruction of people’s identities. Sagal seeks to understand the ways in which the selective destruction and reconstruction of Somali art and cultural heritage will affect notions of belonging and identity.
Sagal has worked in the Horn of Africa for several years. She was an expert cultural heritage consultant on the EU project Reviving Culture, Building Peace in Somalia from 2015 to 2017, where she designed and implemented numerous projects using art and cultural heritage as a means of fostering peace, dialogue and self-expression.
In 2018, Sagal began working directly with the Federal Government of Somalia, serving as Senior Technical Advisor for Art and Heritage, as well as Deputy Secretary General of the Somali National Commission for UNESCO. Two positions she was extremely proud to hold, as she was able to lead the ratification of the 1972 UNESCO Convention for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage and the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage by Somalia; the re-establishment of the Somali National Commission for UNESCO; represent Somalia on international platforms dedicated to Art and Culture; as well as supporting institutional and capacity building efforts for the National Museum and Library, among many other interventions.
In September 2020, Sagal launched the Somali Arts Foundation (SAF), a dream of his life. SAF is the first independent contemporary art institution in Somalia’s history. SAF was born from Sagal’s desire to create a house for the arts and by extension for young artists in Somalia. SAF’s primary goal is to promote and create environments for contemporary art to flourish, while leveraging the arts to spark critical discourses around issues of identity, memory, loss and healing.
Sagal strongly believes that art and culture hold the answers to address Somalia’s recent traumatic past. She remains committed to paving the way for arts and heritage to thrive in Somalia.