Muhubo Suleiman was born in the village of Guldugup, on the border with Ethiopia and came to Australia in 2003.
Her family were nomads who tended cattle. Today she remembers particularly the thatched hut she grew up in, known as an ‘aqal’. Muhubo learnt weaving techniques from her mother at age five; this work was invaluable to the survival of families; the huts provided safety and shelter as portable homes for these nomadic communities.
Muhubo is driven to re-locate her past life in this new world. She even re-created an aqal inside her flat, as well as miniature versions that function as dollhouses. She demonstrates the aqal in careful detail. It is covered by many different kinds of weaving, which make it a kind of gallery, though an inverted one. The front of the textile faces inwards, so only one or two people can see it in true glory. It is a smaller version of what she originally grew up in. Muhubo has also re-created a number of Somali objects such as walool bamboo stick weaving and waymba decorations. Muhubo has completed a residency at the Australian Tapestry Workshop, exhibited one of her Aqal’s in the East African Women’s Foundation exhibition, titled AQAL, facilitates her own weaving workshops and is a recent graduate of The Social Studio.
Each Wanbaar takes around three weeks on average to create, using the traditional Somali technique of finger weaving.