With the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991, the country has seen two decades of some of the most violent and poverty stricken times in Africa’s history. With no central government to control the majority of Somalia, it is has been called a failed state. In 1992, at the young age of 22, artist/journalist Dan Eldon was hired by Reuters to photograph the war. When the Marines landed in Mogadishu, he was on assignment taking photos in the very beginnings of the war. Then in 1993 the horrible happened: Dan was stoned to death along with three other journalists by an angry mob.
Throughout his life in Africa, Dan photographed and kept journals of his travels and experiences. He raised money for a young Kenyan girl’s heart transplant surgery at the age of 14, started a non-profit that worked with Save the Children in college and participated in countless other genuine acts of kindness around the world. His journals did not have the typical long handed written passages as may do. Instead they were his own works of art showcasing his experiences with drawings, clippings and photographs. (Read more below)
Allowing his intrepid spirit to live on, Dan’s family started the Creative Visions Foundation. The mission of the organization is to support “creative activists, who seek innovative solutions to local and global issues and use arts and media to ignite positive change.” In an effort to make sure the organization could prove to be self-sustainable, the Dan Eldon collection was introduced. With both clothing and prints as the medium, Dan’s artwork is available for purchase, and the proceeds help fund future projects of other creative activists and the work of the foundation. The creative activism that Dan helped to pioneer during his life and work in Somalia has given birth to a whole new generation of creatives, using their unique voices to call action to global issues that might be otherwise overlooked. Head over to the Dan Eldon Collection store to continue supporting their work and view some of the incredible artwork he created in his short but significant life.
For some serious inspiration, see the video on Eldon’s life below: