The public, in general, has a tendency to stereotype artists. Myths have been perpetuated about the sullen suffering artist, the artist as a misfit, the artist as anti-intellectual and even the idea that having money is not important to artists. This famous quote in the early part of the 20 century “Don’t talk painter, paint,” further perpetuated the idea that artists should not concern themselves with the verbal, only the visual.
The truth is that artists today are as diverse as the many styles you see in galleries. There is no one temperament; there is no one purpose for why an artist immerses themselves in the creative process. Mohammed Osman, who’s work is on exhibit at the Architect’s Gallery, is the best example of breaking all the rules about how we stereotype artists. {mosimage}
    Not only is Osman a prolific artist, he is one of the most talkative, open and upbeat individuals I have ever meet. Whereas some artists don’t like to talk about their work, he loves to engage in the art of talking and discussing his work at great length. With ease, he can describe or write about each of his works. His passion is ever present in his work and evident while in his presence.
    A physician by profession, Osman’s paintings express states of being; color, scale and figurative expression exude meaning about the human psyche and the human experience. The subject of his paintings range from emotional disorders to the supernatural — the overriding theme is the art of healing.
Osman is very clear about art and healing. He stated, “Over 3,000 years ago the ancient kemetic (Egyptian) physicians suggested that healing is an art that addresses a level of being: body, mind and soul. This notion still holds true today. Art is a complementary medicine, capable of healing patients in conjunction with conventional medicine.”
    A native of Merka, Somalia, (now practicing and residing in Fayetteville), Osman is very clear about the direction his work has always taken. “My works of art follow a continuity of traditional African art, further advanced to capture the psychosocial, political, cultural, ethnical and medial concepts that are deep, difficult to express in words and philosophically intriguing. Like any other African artist in the world today, I strive in my work to rediscover the definition of contemporary African art.”
    His statement above best describes his clear purpose in why he is involved in the creative process of being an artist. Anyone interested in seeing his work online and interested in his extensive explanation of each of his paintings, should go to his Web site: He explains each painting in the manner of a healer. Medical information and references to the medical are blended with prose, poetry and personal philosophy. His subjects vary and range from themes of isolation, disease, states of being and the supernatural.
    In the painting titled Loneliness, a lone female figure stands in profile, her hands raised to her head as she faces the bare wall in front of, her shadow is created by the open window behind her, another opening in the wall is located at the end of the room, painted in yellow and crimson red. Emotion exudes as the blue shape of a landscape pushes against the outside of the wall.
    Like all of Osman’s work, Loneliness is painted in a classical expressionistic style. “Loneliness affects everyone indiscriminately. Refugees and immigrants are not excluded. I was raised in Africa. Loneliness lives far away in the West. Here people care. People communicate. People talk. Family ties are strong. Loneliness becomes a matter of choice.”
    If you don’t have time to see his work at the Architect’s Gallery on Burgess Street in downtown Fayetteville, then the above Web site extensively represents his work. The website is linked to an online exhibit titled The 2nd Annual African and American Sketchbook 2008: Works by African and African American Artists born in 1930-1961.
    What you will be seeing in the Architect’s Gallery exhibit are examples of what inspires Osman — what he “sees, feels, thinks and remembers.” Just be mindful, the Architect’s Gallery is only open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., closed on Saturday and Sunday. The exhibit closes the end of the third week in April.

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