Anomalous expansion


Darul Uloom Youth, Family & Community Center

977 E. 5th St., St. Paul, MN 55106

(1st/2nd Floor of the School Building)



September 17 through October 8, 2016, 4 - 9pm



September 24, 2016, 5 - 8pm




Since the early 1990s, Minnesota has been home to the Somali community, now one of the largest in North America. In the early years of the community, the focus of artmaking, while paramount to the welfare of any community, has been redirected towards immediate needs such as family reunification, housing, education and employment.


At present, the Somali community in Minnesota has dedicated and accomplished Somali visual artists who want to create and use art to shape and frame critical discourse around vexing local and global issues of our time. Moving forward, we hope the collective action of this group will lead to sustained partnerships with Minnesota institutions, and together inspire more Minnesotans to harness the power of art as a tool for intellectual and civic engagement.


Anomalous Expansion was born out of discussions within the community about the need to address the state of contemporary Somali visual arts in Minnesota. The collective understanding amongst the artists are as follows: 1. Own the creation/presentation of all facets of their art; 2. Normalize the possibility of a career in the visual arts for Somali youth; 3. Advocate for policy work that will foster and advance Somali visual arts; 4. Hold annual art exhibitions; 5. Create opportunities for Somali visual artists to produce and exhibit their work; 6. Offer role models for young Somali artists.


Anomalous Expansion is a landmark exhibition that features work by six Somali Minnesotan artists — highlighting their art while asking the following questions: What is their role & responsibility as Somali artists? What does s/he have to say, contribute to and produce on the contemporary local and global artscape? In other words, what is his/her artistic station?


Anomalous Expansion elaborates on the significance of the sacred space, the Masjid, as both a public and private sphere — and in this instance serves as an alternative art location that affords these artists the footing to contemplate and address conceptually both the Sublime and the Real through a culturally grounded aesthetic.


Anomalous Expansion features work by

Abdi Roble, Aziz Osman, Ifrah Mansour, Kaamil Haider, Mohamed Hersi, and Mohamud Mumin.




Darul Uloom, meaning “House of Knowledge,” a Minnesota Masjid/Mosque was established for the youth on August 16, 2010, in order to promote Islamic principles in the Twin Cities communities while facilitating the development of the next generation of Muslims. On June 20, 2014, Darul Uloom purchased the former St. John’s Church and School property to provide services to the growing East Saint Paul Muslim community. The 93-year old facilities are being updated to meet the needs of the community. Currently, services are held on a daily basis. Please check out their website,, for more information, prayer times, events and updates.



Tour of Masjid - Visitors to the exhibition will have an opportunity to go on a guided tour of the main prayer hall and the Center (including the high school building)— 5:15 - 5:45pm.



Nuruddin Farah, an acclaimed Somali novelist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and a distinguished professor at Bard College, will be giving opening remarks on the opening day of the exhibition on September 17, 2016 at 6pm.



Visitors will have an opportunity to see the artwork displayed in various rooms throughout the exhibition space and be able to talk to the artists about their respective work. Afterwards, we will all gather in the main exhibition Room B on the second floor for a panel discussion moderated by Ifrah Magan— 6 - 7:15pm on September 24, 2016.



Ifrah Magan holds a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration where she was a recipient of the prestigious Kathryn Davis Peace Award and the Albert Schweitzer Health Fellowship. Magan is currently a doctoral candidate at Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is a recipient of the 2014-2015 UIC Abraham Lincoln Fellowship and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Award. Magan’s research explores migration histories and resettlement experiences of Somali refugees in Chicago and how that impacts ethnic and religious identities. Magan utilizes story-telling qualitative methodology in her research work, and is currently completing her first poetry collection.



The exhibition and its secondary activities are free for all visitors.


Due to the in-progress renovation of the building, the gallery does not have handicap entrances. However, we are more than happy to help facilitate your visit by figuring out ways we can get you in. Also, we plan on providing American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. We will have staff in front of the entrance, so please notify them upon your arrival or contact us beforehand.



Support for the exhibition provided by Somali Museum of Minnesota, Ka Joog, Darul Uloom Islamic Center, Minneapolis College of Art & Design, and The McKnight Foundation.


Soomaal House of Art is a Minnesota-based Somali art collective that provides studio space, studio critiques, artistic community, mentorship for emerging Somali artists and a final exhibition space with educational programs.

2017 © Soomaal. All rights reserved.

(612) 703.5329


977 5th Street East

St. Paul, MN 55106