Somali- Kenyan artist Deqa Abshir (b.1983), is an emerging artist in Kenya, whose artwork expresses the complexities of identity and society, and how the two are constantly shifting.

There are various influences that make up who Deqa is, but her identity as a Somali and a Kenyan is fundamental to her artwork. Her experiences of travelling around the world all play a part in her work and have led to the questions that define her experiences: What is identity? How rooted is identity in citizenship or where we live? How grounded is culture in tradition?

Through her paintings, Deqa tries to put such thoughts in order. This discourse of identity and culture affects so many young Africans, who everyday are confronted with issues of globalization, while having to engage with national, tribal and cultural pressures. Contrary to what is expected, this has made her generation stronger, more diverse and more accepting. This acceptance and growth is something she strives to inspire in her work. However, has this resilience translated to African cultures and traditions?

Her work attempts to highlight some of the paradoxes of modern culture; the way in which our traditional or semi-traditional upbringings and the culture that surrounds our everyday lives contradict the modern fixtures tattooed across Africa. Her artwork endeavors to highlight the juxtapositions between the realistic and the poetic, the traditional and the modern, the global south and the global north.