What Remains

The Somali civil war left its rich architectural heritage in ruins. ‘What Remains’ celebrated these remnants of the country’s past and offered the hope that they can be the foundations of a brighter future.

What remains when the war ends? Ruins preserve histories that are often forgotten. In the face of conflict and destruction, ruins are proof that there was something before the wreckage, and before the painful emotions that they evoke. Not all ruins are the same; some buildings remain standing despite attempts to turn them into rubble. They are manifestations of people’s indestructible hope, resilience and survival. Somalia’s exhibition traced the history of Somali architecture before and after the civil war, from its pre-colonial heritage to its manifestations under British and Italian rule, through to the post-independence socialist modernism of the late 20th century. The exhibit also reflected on the impact of the civil war on this architectural heritage.

Visitors were guided through images and video projection that followed the devastation which not only transformed the physical landscape of the country but also carried with it unimaginable human costs. The main installation featured 3D models of Mogadishu’s most iconic buildings and monuments. As the capital city, Mogadishu is emblematic of both the architectural styles and the political struggles of the whole country. Visitors were immersed in a 360-degree experience showing how the country has radically changed in the last 30 years and suggesting how what remains could act as the foundation for future reconstruction. The remnants of the past bear witness to people’s hope that Somalia will return to the vibrant country it once was.

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Photography: Ed Reeve



Somali Architecture

Design Team:

Yusuf Shegow, Madina Scacchi, Iman Mohamed, Ahmed Mussa



Supporting Bodies:

Premier Bank, Deeqa Construction and Water Well Drilling Co., Benadir Regional Administration

2018 Exhibitors