Residency Unlimited

Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman

Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman, "Sambuza After School", 2022, oil on canvas, 48" x 36", Photo Credit: Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman

Artist Name: Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman
Residency Dates: February – April 2024
Born: 1998
Hometown: Ottawa, Canada
Lives & Works: Ottawa & Montreal, Canada
URL: | Instagram: @thesmecca
Education: 2016 – 2020 | BFA in Studio Arts, Concordia University


Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman is an emerging multidisciplinary artist whose mixed media paintings and video works illustrate topics of memory, caretaking, and the notion of home. Abdourahman is interested in healing through art making and how to engage in critical discussions of the cultural landscape without adding to the Western tradition of overconsumption of traumatic imagery. Her work addresses healing from grief and the burden of memory, ancestral trauma, and the inner child. Abdourahman’s practice raises the importance of care and self-preservation as modes to combat systems of oppression. She hopes to create further healing for herself and the viewer through this.

Abdourahman’s artistic practice is shaped by her experiences as an eldest daughter raised in a Canadian suburb to immigrant parents. With a distant relationship to her parents’ homelands in Somalia and India, the constant search for home often appears in her work. Abdourahman refers to this sentiment as the second chase when diasporic communities are met with discrimination that initiates a longing to return to the homeland and elicits a need to connect to community, family, and country.

Through the compositional practice of intertextuality, using family archives, collage, and abstraction, Abdourahman’s mixed oil media paintings and video works offer an authentic mode of documentation beyond the indexicality of photography to represent the multilayered perspectives of her first-generation Canadian experiences.

She has been awarded the Salt Spring National Art Prize – Joan McConnell Award and is a recipient of the Canada Council of the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council grant (2023). She was a finalist for the Emerging IBPOC Artist Award (2023). She has previously exhibited at the Senate of Canada (2023), Ottawa City Hall (2023), Digital Art Resource Centre (2022), Gallery 101 (2022), and Ottawa Art Gallery (2021). She has also led creative workshops with Ottawa Art Gallery, Somerset West Community Health Centre, and the Ottawa Catholic School Board (2021-23). Her work is held in various private collections, including the City of Ottawa Art Collection and the Art Volt Collection.


Support: Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman’s residency is made possible with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.

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