Here’s how Somali art will take centre stage for the first time at Nuit Blanche – featuring ancient artifacts dating back 200 years

Nuit Blanche is officially at Toronto’s doorstep and that means residents are gearing up to experience the city through the eyes of multi-talented artists.

This year’s theme is Breaking Ground where visionaries are encouraged to explore themes surrounding both innovation and change through curated exhibitions, installations and independent projects by participating cultural institutions.

In fact, one cultural demographic in the city will play a major part in Toronto’s biggest night of art, for the first time ever.

The Somali Centre for Culture and Recreation (SCCR) is introducing the Dhis Bulshada exhibit, which translates to “build our community.”

According to SCCR, city-goers can expect a “visualization of over 40 years of community advocacy demonstrated through an electric show of Somali arts, culture and heritage.”

You can also look forward to an inspiring selection of Somali artists who hope to “capture the essence of Somali life and living through art.”

The exhibit also promises to showcase ancient artifacts dating back 200 years, as well as highlighting present-day artistry found right here at home.

“It’s really important what this means to the community. It’s cultural preservation and having this is gonna foster that sense of belonging that we are all looking for,” Sagal Shuriye, Nuit Blanche lead project manager and board member for SCCR, told Now Toronto.

“This showcase, with its theme, is gonna show people the work that we’ve done as a community to break ground.”

The artists that will be included are Asmaa Bana, Ayan Bashir, Aziz Farah, Huda Hussein, Samira Warsame, Wasima Farah and Yasin Osman.

“I’m excited to be a part of something so historic for the Somali community in Toronto,” Samira Warsame, a Toronto-based documentary photographer, said.

“I got a call from Sagal earlier this year and she didn’t even have to finish her sentence. [I told her] that whatever it is, I’m there.”

And Toronto’s mayor couldn’t agree more.

“Nuit Blanche is about coming together and creating an atmosphere where we support each other,” Olivia Chow said at the SCCR artist celebration launch on Thursday night.

In fact, Chow is very much tapped into the organization and its bid to build a community centre where they can comfortably and confidently operate and continue the important work they’ve started.

“I want to give that financial support,” Chow shared, adding that although she is the mayor, she would need more votes in making this happen and approving the project in the city’s 2024 financial budget.

You can experience Dhis Bulshada on Sept. 23 at Union Station from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

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