On view March 14 – July 11, 2020

Artists | Abdi Roble, Ifrah Mansour, Kaamil A. Haider, Khadija Charif, Khadijah Muse, Mohamed Samatar and Mohamud Mumin

Opening | March 14, 5 – 7pm | Join the Facebook Event Page
Reception | April 11, 5 – 7pm

In Plain Sight presents the work of seven Somali American artists based in Minnesota from March 14, 2020 to July 11, 2020 in the main second-floor galleries of the Rochester Art Center. The exhibiting artists are part of a Minnesota-based artist collective, Soomaal House of Art (Soomaal), that provides an artistic community and support through fellowships, programming and exhibitions, studio and gallery space for Somali artists in Minnesota and around the world.

The wide range of perspectives included in this exhibition attests to the rich artistic production of contemporary Somali artists working in various media, including; painting, photography, sculpture, participatory and site-specific installations. Among the artists represented in the exhibition are Abdi Roble, Ifrah Mansour, Kaamil A. Haider, Khadija Charif, Khadijah Muse, Mohamed Samatar and Mohamud Mumin.

This collaborative project will serve as a bridge and provide an opportunity to share with the larger Minnesota the arts of one of the largest Somali diaspora in the U.S. Rochester Art Center, through this exhibition and related broadside activities, offers the opportunity for all people to understand and value the arts through innovative experiences with contemporary art. Through distinguished pertinent exhibitions and programs, RAC presents a welcoming, integrated, and diverse experience that encourages questioning, creativity, and critical thinking.

In Plain Sight is produced by Soomaal House of Art in collaboration with Rochester Art Center. RAC and Soomaal wish to thank the Minnesota State Arts Board for its support.


Abdi Roble | photographer and community-archivist

Abdi is the Founder and Executive Director of the Somali Documentary Project and a multi award winning documentary photographer and community archivist who has exhibited internationally. Abdi has worked for over a decade to document Somali migration globally. He is currently working on archive based on his documentary photography work and collection of historical manuscripts, postcards and photographs of Somalis around the globe in the past century.

Roble’s work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally, most notably his solo exhibition Stories from the Somali Diaspora that traveled to the Columbus Museum of Art, the Bates Museum of Art in Lewiston, ME, the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, and the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND. His work has also shown in New York, Washington DC, London, and Santiago, Chile.

Abdi received the Individual Artist Award from the Ohio Arts Council (2004), the Greater Columbus Arts Council (2006), the South Side Settlement House honored him with the Arts Freedom Award (2006), and the Raymond J. Hanley Fellowship Award (2009).

Roble has lectured extensively on Somali migration and archives at reputable universities and colleges around the globe. In January 2012, he was honored as one of 14 Champions of Change by the White House. Roble is a Bush Fellow and completed his Archive Residency at the Immigration History Research Center Archives (IHRCA) at the University of Minnesota. Along with writer, Doug Rutledge, his book, The Somali Diaspora, A Journey Away, was published by the University of Minnesota Press (2008).

Ifrah Mansour | multimedia/visual artist

ifrah is a Somali, refugee, Muslim, multimedia artist and an educator based in Minnesota. Her artwork explores trauma through the eyes of children to uncover the resiliencies of blacks, Muslims, and refugees. She interweaves poetry, puppetry, films, and installations.

Ifrah has been featured in Middle East Eye, BBC, Vice, OkayAfrica, Star Tribune, and City Pages. Her critically-acclaimed, “How to Have Fun in a Civil War” premiered at the Guthrie Theatre and toured to greater cities in Minnesota. Her first national museum exhibition; “Can I touch it” premiered at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Her visual poem, “I am a Refugee” is part of PBS’s short Film festival. “My Aqal, banned and blessed” premiered at Queens Museum in New York.

Kaamil A. Haider | visual artist

Kaamil A. Haider is visual artist and graphic designer based in Minneapolis. He received his BFA in graphic design from the College of Design, University of Minnesota. In his design practice, Kaamil applies a holistic approach to design while exploring the human interaction with designed entities. His design style is informed by Somali design aesthetic and uses cultural, visual experimentations in order to find solutions through new forms of expression.

Furthermore, Kaamil considers the power of memory, heritage and archives in relation to his personal experiences and that of Somali diaspora communities as they forge a new life in their receiving societies. In addition to pursuing his individual artistic and design practices, Kaamil is a co-founder of Soomaal House of Art, a Minneapolis-based Somali artists collective supporting a growing number of emerging and established Somali artists living in Minnesota and beyond. He is also currently an artist-in-residence at Ubah Medical Academy high school where he teaches design and art.

He is the recipient of the 2018 University of Minnesota Alumni Association’s U40 Alumni Leader Award for his academic achievement and community engagement through Soomaal. Kaamil is one of the two 2019 Soomaal Fellows, an initiative by Soomaal House of Art in partnership with Augsburg University Art Galleries. He is also a 2019/20 Springboard for the Arts’ 20/20 Artist Fellow and 2019/20 MCAD–Jerome Foundation Fellow for Early Career Artists.

Khadija Charif | visual artist

Khadija is a visual artist and writer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Born in Kenya, raised in Belgium and the United States, Khadija’s work examines the relationship between community and self in relation to her faith, gender, race and mobility. She draws on these social-political locations to inform her work as an artist-practitioner.

In her recent projects, Khadija considers the bonds between the women in her family and within the larger Somali community, casting light on the complexities and confluences between black women and immigrant experiences.

Khadija has exhibited her work at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, the University of Minnesota – Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Macalester College, ArtWorks Chicago and Soomaal House of Arts.

Khadijah Muse | visual artist

Khadijah is a visual artist and art organizer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her practice is greatly influenced by her commitment to community building. Khadijah uses art as a tool to explore interpersonal and environmental relationships using various mediums including photography, woodworking, sculpture, and installation.

Understanding the power of art, Khadijah facilitates opportunities for other Somali artists to optimize their artistic potential. She is the co-founder and director of Soomaal House of Art, a Minnesota-based Somali artists collective. Khadijah holds a BS in Sociology from the University of Minnesota. She is one of the two 2019 Soomaal Fellows, an initiative by Soomaal House of Art in partnership with Augsburg University Art Gallery. Khadijah is also an Art(ists) On the Verge Fellow.

Mohamed Samatar | performance and multimedia artist

Mohamed has been pursuing the field of creative curation, production, and performance art since 2009. Through his various roles in the Twin Cities arts and organizing communities, he has had the immense opportunity to present with Soomaal House of Art in Isfaham (Know Thyself) (2017), Staged Reading of Axmed Cartan Xaange’s play Samawada (2017), and Untitled (2018). He is grateful to be sharing the space and time with this group of talented artists in creating our collective archives of storytelling.

Mohamud Mumin | visual artist

Mohamud Mumin is an artist, co-founder, and curator at Soomaal House of Art, a Somali-American artists collective based in Minneapolis. He is the recipient of many awards and is currently an artist-in-residence at Ubah Medical Academy, a charter high school in Hopkins, Minnesota. Mumin’s work has been exhibited in community spaces, galleries, and museums in the United States and abroad.



This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.