Ashrah Suudy is a freelance photographer, creative, currently studying Media, Journalism, and Culture at Cardiff University. Oriel Davies is delighted to present this group of works that celebrate the joy and colour of the Somali community in Cardiff set against the grey background of Welsh urban living. The colours of these modern Muslim women sing out and Ashrah gives them a voice through her work.
“Film photography was introduced to me by my older brother who handed me my first film camera.”
Most of us discover photography through our phones. We think nothing of capturing images on a daily basis. Ashrah Suudy photographs things that signify her identity and tell her stories.
The images that form “East in Colour” focus on the Somali garment the 'Dirac' which is a long, loose-fitting dress, worn on special occasions such as Weddings and Eid. The Dirac is widely recognised for its assortment of colours and patterns. Ashrah describes it as a colourful celebration of her Somali heritage.
“The juxtaposition of the colourful garments against the grey skies of Butetown, Cathays, and Grangetown in Cardiff visualises how my Somali culture plays a powerful role in my identity, whilst being born and raised in Cardiff, Wales.”
Some aspects of our community are overlooked in the media. We don’t always see how diverse contemporary Welsh culture is. Oriel Davies is delighted to share this work with our community.
“Routinely, Black and Muslim communities are seen through a narrow lens and we are presented to be either ‘suffering’ or ‘fighting’.”
“East in Colour” is a celebration of the artist’s roots.
In 2022 Ashrah’s first film was completed. “In a Room full of Sisters” was commissioned by BBC Arts, BBC Cymru Wales, Ffilm Cymru Wales, and the Art Council of Wales, and celebrates her Somali upbringing and the sisterhood she is surrounded by in Cardiff.
Can you write about what being part of a community means?
Perhaps imagine you are one of the people in photographs. What are you thinking about?