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12 for 12: Abdi Roble

May 31, 2012 at



In the next of our 12 for 12 series in celebration of the Columbus Bicentennial, we feature Columbus photographer Abdi Roble.

Abdi Roble was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1964 and immigrated to the United States in 1989, first to Washington, DC and a year later to Columbus, Ohio. Self-taught in photography, Roble has been engaged for many years in the Somali Documentary Project, an ambitious mission he founded to create a visual archive of Somali populations outside of their native country. He has traveled to Dadaab, Kenya, to photograph life in the refugee camps, capturing the ethos of the diaspora from an intimate perspective. Working under unpredictable conditions, with available light and a hand-held camera, Roble has been building a photographic record of and for a globally dispersed people.

Roble has had several exhibitions in Columbus including shows at the MPX Gallery the Ohio Art Council’s Riffe Gallery. His one-person presentation at the Columbus Museum of Art in 2007, entitled Stories of the Somali Diaspora, also traveled to the Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Maine; the Weisman Art Museum of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota. All of the venues for Stories of the Somali Diaspora have significant Somali populations. In 2008, The Somali Diaspora: A Journey Away by Roble and Doug Rutledge was published by the University of Minnesota Press.

(Photo by Abdi Roble, First Day of School Portland Maine. From Columbus Museum of Art permanent collection).

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