Her memory of her home country Somalia is all about her family desperately running to save their lives from the war in 2007. They landed in the city of Hargeisa in Somaliland, which was not internationally recognized.
Nujuum Hashi Ahmed enrolled in a nursing school and began her professional practice at the Hargeisa General Hospital. However, her heart was in painting, according to Anadolu Agency. Her father was an anesthetist but she still held fond memories of his paintings. Now a famous painter, Ahmed believes her love for painting stems from her dad painting and drawing in their compound.
Ahmed said as much as her father loved to paint, he never showed the world his works. It was all kept in the closet. When she perfected her art, she wore a hat that enabled her to attend to the sick during her working hours and when she got home, she wore another that enabled her to place her cherished memories of Somalia in art.
Today, her painting is about the everyday dreams and shared aspirations of the people of Somalia. Her artistic themes are about peace and a rallying cry for the war in Somalia to end. She believes when the conflict is over, the people will have enough to eat and the youth will be able to chase their dreams.
She started her paintings as murals on the road and anywhere that yearned to learn about the plight of Somalia and the devastating impact of the war on women and children. Inspired by her work, the European Union diplomatic office in Somalia engaged her to make murals for them.
Aside from preaching peace, the Somali artist campaigns for women’s rights and political representation in her art. She also maintains that it is expedient for generations to know about their culture and past, and she is undaunted in this pursuit.
Ahmed said that given a choice to pick between nursing and painting, she will opt for the latter because it has been her passion since childhood. She said instead of people opposing the ideals she stands for, they should look beyond her paintings and appreciate the positive image she is weaving around her country.
She also has other dreams which include teaching others to empower them with skills to become functional members of society. A COVID-19 survivor, she recently used art to spread awareness about the disease in Somalia.
Many of the Somali artist’s paintings can be found at the Hargeisa Cultural Center.