Chantal Heijnen

Photographer & Educator
Ghost Republic Somaliland
Location: New York
Nationality: Dutch
Biography: Chantal Heijnen (1976, The Netherlands) is a visual storyteller who uses photography to build connections on both sides of the lens. She holds a BA in Social Work and Photography. Her career as a social worker greatly informs her observant and... MORE
Public Story
Ghost Republic Somaliland
Copyright Chantal Heijnen 2023
Date of Work Apr 2009 - Feb 2011
Updated Feb 2019
Topics Community, Documentary, Mixed Medium, Peacekeeping, Photography, Photojournalism, Portraiture
Ghost Republic Somaliland: democracy against all odds
Very few people have heard of Somaliland. Officially still part of Somalia, Somaliland declared itself an independent republic on May 18, 1991, and has been building its nation ever since.
Somaliland has everything one would expect any “normal” democracy to have, with the exception that it is situated within, and officially still part of a country that has absolutely nothing of the sort: Somalia. One of the most volatile and violent countries in the world today, Somalia is tarnished by its ongoing civil war, unmatched brutalities and absence of government.
Photographer Chantal Heijnen’s fascination with Somaliland started in 2009, when she and her Somaliland born friend Fatma Ali traveled to this democratic enigma within what is essentially a failed state. In the two years that followed, they began documenting the Somaliland people who are building the democratic institutions of governance in their unrecognized republic.
Ghost Republic Somaliland: Democracy against all odds is a photo document focused on the Somalilanders who are organizing, maintaining and governing a nation that is effectively cut off from the rest of the world.
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Also by Chantal Heijnen —


Lou's Summer

Chantal Heijnen / New York City

House of Xtravaganza

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Uncle Gil

Chantal Heijnen / The Bronx, NY

The Divided States of America

Chantal Heijnen
Ghost Republic Somaliland by Chantal Heijnen
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