Somalia Yellow

Allan Harding Mackay

1994, 19:00 minutes, colour, English & Somali


Somalia Yellow is derived from footage shot in March, 1993 during the artist's Canadian Armed Forces Civilian Artists assignment, "Somalia: Operation, Deliverance and Cordon".
The tape moves through an extraordinary pictorial view of war-ravished Mogadishu, the natural desert formations of Somalia, the Canadian military compound where a Somali youth was murdered and the accused soldier attempted suicide. Finally, a compelling look at an outdoor abattoir in Belet Huen that documents the ancient ritual of healing through a blood bath of a child at dawn.
The visuals and sound operate at two levels, one in extended slow motion while the other moves at a more fleeting pace. The tape is unusual in the context of traditional war art in that it has transformed raw documentary footage into a highly personal and poetic response by the artist to the juxtaposition of military intervention to natural and social realities of Somalia.

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Critical Writing

Lassoing talent for High Performance Rodeo
by Chris Dafoe. The Globe and Mail, Jan. 10, 1998.
Somalia Yellow: Artist Explores Canada's Role in War-Torn Country
by Dinah Clarkson. Calgary Herald, Jan. 1998.
Rodeo show puts war artist on the spot
by Martin Morrow. Calgary Herald, Jan. 9, 1998.