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Ubah Suldan Captures an Older Generation Trapped Between 2 Worlds In Her New Black and White Series

No one ever expects to have to leave their home, but when they do it becomes their responsibility to try and find peace and become accustomed to this new life that they’ve been thrown into

This is how the upcoming photographer describes the feeling that many encounter when they immigrate. Ubah Suldan, 22 and based in Leicester relates to the feeling of being an outcast because of not understanding the culture and language of a country. Born in The Netherlands, Ubah moved to the United Kingdom with the rest of her family at the age of 6 and says she clearly remembers feeling alienated from the rest of her peers at school. During lunchtime, while the other kids were out in the playground, she was indoors learning the English language from scratch. It made her want to assimilate more into the British culture and not feel different but as soon as she started speaking fluent English, they started seeing her as one of them rather than ‘that immigrant that had a translator follow her around at break time’

However, the older generation definitely feels this on a higher level. The series features 3 women who all escaped the Somali civil war during the late eighties to early nineties. All 3 have seen the horrors of the war and they had to flee at moments notice with the outbreak of it being so severe, they now latch on to their culture as a way to feel connected to their home while living in a place that does not welcome them at times when the media can portray a certain image.

Assimilating to them means that they are ultimately losing a piece of their home in a world they have never expected to raise their children and in a place where they are trying to heal from their prior war trauma. This is exactly what the series explores, the essence and the likeness of the subject that is otherwise skewed by the media when it comes to immigrants. Very often do you actually hear from immigrants let alone have a face attached to their struggles and stories.

     With this series, I am trying to point out the faces that we neglect with the stories that we hear often about immigration. Black and white forces us to focus on the subject without the distraction of colour, it makes us look at them as human and allows us to see them as people with valid emotions.

 

(Photo Credit: Ubah Suldan)

(Photo Credit: Ubah Suldan)

(Photo Credit: Ubah Suldan)

(Photo Credit: Ubah Suldan)

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(Photo Credit: Ubah Suldan)

They are trapped in between two worlds; One world is a place where their children call home and the other world is a country they both knew and understood.

This is all further explored in her poetry collection Malab meaning honey in the Somali language which is due to release in May. It covers immigrating from one country to another and losing a part of the culture and tradition as the narrator develops a different identity in a new world. The entire collection covers the development of losing parts of her native language as she develops a new language and journeys through a life of exile.

This is a beautiful series depicting the humanity that has been stripped away by other sources and a lesson reminding us if we were to listen and understand the stories of others we would be able to gather new perspectives.

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