O'Born Contemporary


Fragile Border

Dominic Nahr, Solo Exhibition

October 10 – November 28, 2009


Dominic Nahr travels the globe as a photojournalist: His objective is to show us unfolding actions that must not be allowed to go on or forgotten. Whether Nahr is photographing children playing barefoot in a refugee camp or the brutal remnants of a violent war, he does so with a strong and unwavering gaze that is intent on telling the viewer a certain and unflinching narrative about civil unrest and the crimes inflicted in the pursuit of protecting physical and psychological borders. Nahr places himself in harm's way with the hope that by recording the evidence of violent actions and the resulting anguish that these events will not needlessly be repeated. Of course, his photographs act as a reminder that pain and injustice are inescapable realities of our world.

For Nahr's first solo exhibition with O'Born Contemporary, we present work from the Dadaab refugee camp and the Kenya-Somali border, which documents the experience of camp inhabitants and settled Kenyans responding to the threat of Somali intruders.

The Shabab, a radical Islamist militia has taken over much of southern Somalia, threatening anyone who gets in its way. While the Shabab has not yet made good on threats to march brazenly across the border, rebels penetrate the boundary at a measured pace, smuggling contraband, sending spies and enlisting recruits to the militia's ranks. The Shabab has already infiltrated the safety of refugee camps like Dadaab (the largest camp in the world, home to over 250,000 people) luring away young men with utopian promises and a $300 prize.

Nahr's Fragile Border reveals to the viewer the many aspects of the life along the Kenya/Somalia border. At once, we sit in wonderment at the beauty of the African landscape and are incensed by the violence and poverty that its inhabitants sustain. This exhibition aims to stimulate the viewer both visually and ethically.