Monday, 25 April 2011

Diriye Osman - The Man With The Goddess Complex

A couple of week's back I photographed Diriye for inclusion in his press release, so I wanted to include a few words about his upcoming show which is on between 7th and 17th July at the Brick Lane Gallery on Sclater Street. If you're in the area, do pop by and say hello.

His press release sums this up far more eloquently than I ever could...

"Culturally, Diriye Osman is Somali-British. Creatively, he’s an artist-writer. Born in 1983 in Mogadishu, he was encouraged as a child to draw. When the civil war broke out in Somalia, Diriye and his family fled the country for Kenya. Traumatized by the experiences of war and immigration, the then eight-year-old Diriye found refuge in art. He would spend hours in solitude creating fairytale-like fantasies. These fantasies were influenced by Disney and Miyazaki filtered through the Vogue ideal: beautiful, alien-like sylphs with stylised physiques and catwalk stances. These drawings and paintings blossomed into an obsession. 

‘It was only after I grew up that I realized that my entire creative life had always been about repression,’ says Diriye. ‘I was a gay kid growing up in a society that had no tolerance for homosexuality. I sensed this hostility and it fed into my work. The women, who were goddess-like creatures, became the acceptable,alluring face of what was a dangerous transgression.’

Even after coming to terms with his own sexuality and celebrating it in his fiction, Diriye didn’t change his artistic subject matter. 

‘Art is about compulsion,’ he says. ‘These female characters are a huge part of my identity and I relish their strange beauty. The psychoanalytical implications are best left to psychologists and critics. As an artist, I hope there’s enough mystery, detail and joie de vivre in this ongoing series for the casual observer and the seasoned aesthete."

If you're nearby in July, please pop by, and if you have the chance to come to the private view and say hello to me too, then even better.

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