Color photograph of an empty classroom with teal and orange walls

Untitled (44UN-7964-083), Somaliland (Somalia), 1958

Todd Webb

Archival pigment print

Courtesy of the Todd Webb Archive L2020.85.46

Not on View

When Webb photographed Somaliland (Somalia), the country was in the midst of civil strife. An Italian administration, Amministrazione Fiduciaria Italiana in Somalia (AFIS), was in the eighth of its 10-year rule, and the Somali Youth League (later instrumental in leading the country to independence) had expelled its leader from the party, fueling political unrest. As Somali poet and scholar Ali Jimale Ahmed noted: “it seems that the AFIS and the UN did not bother to inform Webb of the situation, which might explain why he went to empty classrooms and found the streets mostly uncrowded. . . . At times it seems that Webb was on a short leash, held up by the political situation in and around Mogadishu.”

Image: In Copyright. Courtesy of the Todd Webb Archive


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