Golol Art Gallery was the first and last independent gallery of its kind ever established in Somalia and based in the capital city Mogadishu.
Historically the Somalis have been collecting, preserving, minting, weaving, drawing and painting artifacts with archaeological value since time immemorial as Mogadishu is known to have been a commercial hub linking the ancient traders from East Asia, Persia, India, China, Middle East and Africa.
In the olden days Museums served the ancient civilization as the commercial Bank, mercantile court, drawing, dressing and kitchen ware. The minted gold, silver and bronze artistically crafted with heads of kings were used as trade currency commonly shared by ‘block trading partners’ from the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden, Mediterranean, and Persian Gulf.
The Somali National Museum has been modernized and re-launched (with the help of the Omani Sultan of Zanzibar, Barghash Ibnu Sa’id) by Somali Sultan Ahmed Yusuf of the Geledi Sultanate. However, the governor of Mogadishu Suleiman bin Hamed commissioned the work in 1872. The Museum in the period of the Sultanate has collected more Islamic civilization in terms of artifacts, documentation and trade laws.
When the Italian fascist captured Somalia in the early 18th century, the focal point was to capture the Museum, Mogadishu Royal Palace and the Fort and the Towers. Soon they gained access of all the gates of the city and the chief among them was the national Museum. The Museum (after looting and embezzlement) was reconstructed and opened to the public in 1933 by the colonial governor of Mogadishu Maurizzio Rava. Museo Della Somalia was turn into a National Museum when Southern Somalia took its independent from Italy in 1960.
Golol Art Gallery was established in 1987 by renowned Somali artists and intellectuals to promote and sustain the cultural identity collected by generations of Somali historians. The aim was to protect the Somali heritage from malice and as propaganda by the socialist government to suit its own selfish ends.
For example, those days the interest of the ‘oil rich Arabs’ was to assimilate culturally and religiously the Somali people using the failed Scientific Socialist leaders and risk the cultural identity of the Somali people. Therefore the club of the historians whose ideas were to preserve artifacts of national value, upgrade talent of Somali artists, advance human development and sustain Somali identity have come up with the idea of forming Golol Art Gallery to safe-keep and safe-guard the national identity and the history of the Somali People. The founding artist desired to develop the art and artifacts representing culture, history and identity of the Somalis.
Therefore, Golol Art Gallery was born from that point as a non-profit, charitable organization. Golol Art Gallery was the first and the last independent Gallery of its kind ever established in Somalia. It is based in the capital city of Mogadishu and was opened to the public in 1987. The Gallery contained over 1123 different artifacts and valuable paintings before the collapse of the government. However, I was able to redeem and preserved only 34 pieces out of 1123 collected artifacts. We do hope that these paintings carry a missing historical and cultural link, which will give interest to both the community and the scholars.
The goal is to create a more culturally oriented society that adopts their heritage, historical background (old and contemporary) and facilitate civil transformation to produce an uplifted and a creative Somali youth who can overcome the impasse of the inherited oral communication.
Golol Gallery aspires to gather Somali artists, revive and reproduce their art which halted during this quarter century. Golol Gallery aims to exhibit Somali Artists work, preserve, and to share experiences. We have a vision to create an art Gallery which will unite the Somali artists and help them exchange information and ideas on their profession to market their products, create a platform, reproduce, collect, preserve and exhibit refined Somali artifacts and share with exhibition centers worldwide. The aim is to ‘give and gain’ experience, exhibit fine art with historical connection, which is rustic, rare and has an archaeological touch that has been collected over the years by renowned Somali artists, photographers and historians.
Mr. Ali Said Hassan who resides in UK is a Somali Historian, artist, filmmaker and photographer who is (to this day) well connected with the forgotten Somali Artists and is committed to the welfare of Somali artist. He still assembles them, is involved in their work and speaks on their behalf in any events gathered by regional or international artists