Ingmar Björn Nolting
[ FUJIFILM/YOUNG TALENT AWARD 2019 FINALIST ]
The Horn of Africa is regarded as one of the continent’s most war-torn regions. Somalia in particular crashed into an ever deeper chaos of civil war and terror after the disempowerment of the Somali dictator Siad Barre in 1991. There is still no end in sight. Despite all resistance, however, an island of peaceful coexistence emerged in the north of the country. Somaliland. The borders of Somaliland go back to the area of the former British protectorate, which united with Italian-Somaliland to Somalia in 1960. Under the dictatorship of Barre, who seized power through a putsch in 1969, the inhabitants of the north felt increasingly deprived. The resulting fights of the guerilla group “Somaliland National Movement” against the Barre regime culminated in the overthrow of the Barre regime, the adoption of a declaration of independence and the founding of the Republic of Somaliland on 18 May 1991.
Zuhaib (16) and Zakiriye (16) pose on the training grounds of the New Somaliland Circus in Hargeisa, Somaliland. Since there is no circus culture in Somaliland, the shows of the young artists attract a lot of attention, especially in rural areas. The circus group performs in all regions of the country and uses the audience’s attention to educate about HIV, malaria, female genital mutilation and the risks of migration to Europe. Every year, young men die on the way, in the Mediterranean or are kidnapped in Libya. The circus thus becomes a tool of education and gives the young artists self-esteem and a mission.
A street scene in Boorama, Somaliland.
Ahmed (29) poses in the living room of his house in Hargeisa, Somaliland. He grew up in America and decided to return to the country of his parents two years ago in order to learn Somali and contribute to the development of the country. He met his wife in Hargeisa, married her and they had a child. Today he can no longer imagine moving back to America. Ahmed volunteers as a teacher in the “Family, career and community leaders of Somaliland” (FCCLS) project. FCCLS has made it its mission to educate young men and women beyond regular, often inadequate schooling to become responsible leaders who will later change and develop the country.
Nomads at an oasis near Biyo-Guure southeast of the port city of Berbera. Muna (11) and Mohamed (12), left in the picture, lead the 50 goats of their family every day to this small creed. In the aridity of the last years the creek dried up, 50 of their goats died. Approximately half of the inhabitants of Somaliland live as nomads outside the towns and villages, the livestock is their most important living basis. The continuing droughts of recent years have killed about 70 percent of Somaliland’s livestock and forced tens of thousands of families to flee to the cities’ IDP camps. Climate change has led to temperature changes in the Indian Ocean, pushing the wind and humid air that usually brings rain away from the mainland. The effects of climate change are increasingly affecting the entire Horn of Africa, leading to water scarcity, starvation and flight.
Moneychangers are preparing their stand in downtown Hargeisa, Somaliland for the day. The currency of Somaliland, the Somaliland Shilling, is not internationally recognized and cannot be changed or traded outside the country. During the noon prayer the moneychangers leave their stand to pray in a nearby mosque, leaving the money unattended. Due to the social control by the clan system, the country is largely safe. Thieves are usually quickly identified and arrested by the police, who have a strong presence in the city.
A street scene in “Istanbul” IDP camp on the outskirts of Hargeisa, Somaliland. More than 560 families live here, more than 200 of them used to live as nomads in the rural areas until the droughts of recent years destroyed their livelihoods. The IDP camps around Hargeisa are mainly supplied by international NGOs, but there are often shortages, too little access to water and food.
Ahmed (29) prays at the Dahabshiil Mosque in Hargeisa, Somaliland. Islam is the main religion of the country and determines the daily life of the population. After the end of the guerrilla war against the troops of the Somali dictator Siad Barre and the subsequent declaration of independence of Somaliland, large parts of the population filled the accrued political and social vacuum with religion and found hope in Islam.
Mohamed Arab Geele (52) posing for a portrait in the Veteran Association in Hargeisa, Somaliland. At the age of 18 he joined the guerilla group “Somaliland National Movement” (SNM) and fought against the troops of Siad Barre. The inhabitants of the north felt strongly disadvantaged under his dictatorship, in the north there was too little water, little food and no university. More and more inhabitants of the villages occupied by the SNM joined the SNM. In 1988, after a three-month fight for Hargeisa, Mohamed was injured by a bomb splinter in his knee. Barre’s troops bombed Hargeisa with fighter jets starting from the airport on the outskirts of Hargeisa. Since the clan elders proclaimed Somaliland’s independence in 1991, Mohamed has been hoping for international recognition.
A landscape near Laaleys, Somaliland. Due to the droughts, the soil hardens and the water can not be absorb by the soil when it rains. The water masses flow through the city and block roads.
Abdizamad (19) poses together with his mother Qali Rooble (50) in their room in Hargeisa, Somaliland. Abdizamad began his journey to Europe in July 2017 without telling his mother. He paid smugglers who gave him instructions by telephone, guided him through Ethiopia to Sudan and from there to Libya. In Libya, he was kidnapped, beaten and held in a house with other refugees. The traffickers demanded a ransom of 5500 dollars from his family. 15 of his family members joined forces and bought him free after five months. Abdizamad got on a boat that was supposed to take him across the Mediterranean to Europe after all. After two days at sea, the refugees were taken on board of an NGO ship and brought back to Libya. There he was detained for three months and then returned to Hargeisa. His family raised 2,000 dollars and he opened a small shop. Many of the young people in Somaliland do not see any perspective in their homeland. Unemployment, poverty and the hope for a better life drive them into the arms of the traffickers on their way to Europe.
During Ramadan, young men sit on the banks of the Gulf of Aden in Berbera, Somaliland, waiting for breaking the fast at sunset. Somaliland’s largest source of income comes from the port of Berbera. Somaliland mainly exports livestock to the Arab Gulf states.
During my work in Somaliland, I have focused on issues of migration, climate change and aspects of democracy and state-building to create a portrait of the often overlooked region, which has been seeking international recognition for 28 years and where nothing seems more important than the young peace. The project is ongoing.
Asiya kayd Zandan (56) poses on the grounds of the IDP camp of “Norwegian Refugee Council” in Burao, Somaliland. Asiya belongs to the minority group “Gabooye”, which is a kind of work caste. People who are attributed to the minority often work in manual, lower professions and are affected by discrimination. Asiya is divorced from her husband, who now lives in Mogadishu and does not support her.
Hassan (23), Abdiadiqadir (20) and Mohamed (19) pose on the campus of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment of Amoud University in Boorama, Somaliland. The university was the first in the country and opened in 1998. Before independence, there was no university in northern Somalia. The university writes about its faculty in brochures: „At the moment, Agriculture in our country is subsistence agriculture (the production of enough food to meet just the needs of the farmer/agriculturalist and his/her family). Amoud university with the establishment of the faculty of agriculture wants to transform the current agricultural system into that of industrial agriculture, (often referred to as factory farming) long prevalent in “developed” nations and increasingly so elsewhere, which consists of obtaining financial income from the cultivation of land to yield produce, the commercial raising of animals (animal husbandry), or both.“
The military parade to celebrate the 28th year of Independence on 18 May 2019 in Hargeisa, Somaliland. On 18 May the city is in a state of emergency. All shops are closed and the people meet to celebrate together. Although the independence is not internationally recognized, the majority of the inhabitants support the separation from Somalia and are proud of their still young nation.
In this building in Burao, Somaliland, the clan elders met on 18 May 1991 to declare Somalilands independence from Somalia. Today this historic place is lying in ruins.
Viewers at a football match at the Djigdjiga Yar Stadium in Hargeisa, Somaliland.
Hinda Abdi Moamoud (23) poses on the site of the “Family, Career and Community leaders of Somaliland” (FCCLS) project. FFCCLS has made it its mission to educate young men and women beyond regular, often inadequate schooling to become responsible leaders who will later change and develop the country. Hindi wants to become a journalist and help improve the role of women in Somaliland.
A young man crosses the dried-up riverbed that divides the Somali capital Hargeisa into North and South.
Ingmar Björn Nolting (1995) lives and works as a freelance documentary photographer in Leipzig, Germany. After finishing his A-levels, he volunteered to help the homeless and blind. Since then, Ingmar’s photographic work has focused on social documentary issues, in which he sets his sights on people and their habitats, which have disappeared from the public eye. With a slower approach to his work process, he tries to understand how his protagonists think, feel and interact with each other, to absorb and understand what makes their lives. Ingmar is a founding member of „DOCKS Collective“ for humanistic photography. – Shortlist, Athens Photo Festival 2019 – Honorable Mention, New Generation Priza at Phmuseum Grant 2019 – Honorable Mention, PDNedu 2019, Portraiture – Winner, Emerge Visual Journalism Grant 2018 – Finalist, Vonovia Award of Photography 2018, Newcomer Award – Finalist of the LuganoPhotoDays Emerging Award, 2018 – Selected for Canon Masterclass, Visa pour l’image, Perpignan 2018 – Winner of Vonovia Award of Photography 2017, Newcomer Award – Shortlisted for Felix Schoeller Photo Award 2017, Best Emerging Photographer – Finalist for Kolga Award 2017, Newcomer Award – Nominated for Kolga Award 2017, Best Documentary – Awardee, German Youth Photography Award 2016 – Scholarship, granted by the German Ministry for Education and Research – Participant NikonNOOR Workshop, C/O Berlin
The Fujifilm/Young Talent Award is supported by Fujifilm