Picturing the New Americans

Minneapolis, Minnesota, is home to roughly 30,000 people of Somali origin. Many of them are refugees, having fled famine and decades of war—a situation not dissimilar to that of today’s Syrian refugees. For the past year, photographer Arthur Nazaryan documented this enclave of new Americans to show that Somalis, and migrants in general, could be more than "perpetrators or victims of conflict."

The Somalis who live in Minneapolis are much like regular Minnesotans —barbecuing, riding speedboats, going to the playground, and hosting dinner parties. According to Nazaryan, they are also avid Snapchatters, posting selfies of their every move.  “I was kind of surprised, given how conservative the culture can be, to see the younger generation going out, dating, and using social media,” Nazaryan said.  “In Somali culture, it’s really important to be connected and communicate with each other.”

But earlier this year, the community garnered headlines after a handful of Somali-American men were accused of planning to join ISIS. Three have plead guilty, despite intense efforts from local leaders to counter extremism.

"People only pay attention to them when there are these anomalous cases," Nazaryan said."I think it is worth looking at how this community lives, because they’ve also come as refugees from a country that continues to be torn apart by Islamic extremism — and have been both benefactors of our generosity and victims of our suspicion."

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Don Landwehrle / Shutterstock

    Vermont: Images of the Green Mountain State

    A few glimpses into the varied landscape of Vermont, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • Dolores Ochoa / AP

    Photos of the Week: Shanghai Fog, Malta Moon, Storm Ciara

    Heavy rain in southeastern Australia, the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, the 92nd Oscar awards in Hollywood, coronavirus in China, Makha Bucha in Thailand, and much more

  • Sander Grefte / International Landscape Photographer of the Year

    Top Shots From the 2019 International Landscape Photographer of the Year

    Some of the top and winning images from this year’s landscape-photography competition

  • Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters

    Documenting Penguin Decline in Antarctica

    Images from a recent Antarctic expedition during which scientists studied the dramatic drop in the population of chinstrap penguins