Samira Messner is a social justice advocate whose upbringing in the rural Somali region of Ethiopia and academic background in gender and development studies is deeply reflected in her lifestyle, photographic pieces and storytelling. In particular, she has put her fingerprints on the exhibits she produced advocating against female genital mutilation.
Her first photography exhibition, The Strings Attached to Female Genital Mutilation, was displayed in various platforms in Addis Ababa/ Ethiopia, and stirred discussion on the issue. Her second exhibition, Common Memo, was shown at the Goethe institute in Addis Ababa alongside photographs by other professionals. Her third exhibition, Imprisoned Freedom, was displayed at ”Fotoseptimbre 2018” in Texas/ USA. In the context of the festival Membrane: African Literatures and Ideas Samira is co-exhibiting her recent photographic work amongst three other Afrodiasporic artists in May 2019 in Stuttgart.
Samira Messner, a mother of two daughters, is also a founder of Temsalet Kitchen in Addis Ababa, a social enterprise where marginalized women and single mothers find employment and receive skills training and social support. The Kitchen, with plans to expand to support more women, hosts artistic gatherings and exhibits different artworks that challenge social norms that affect gender equity.