McColl Center Artist-in-Residence Abdi Osman documents Charlotte LGBT culture
Photographer Abdi Osman says heās always been interested in visiting the South. The history and culture is whatās drawn him here and what led him to apply for an artist-in-residence position at the McColl Center for Visual Arts, where his documentary photo exhibit is on display now through March 18.
Photographer Abdi Osman (photo at left) and a photo from his āDiscover Usā¦ā series. Photo Credit: Abdi Osman
Osman, a Somali-born Canadian who makes his home in Toronto, has focused his work on the intersections of Muslim and queer identities, as well as LGBT men of color. In his three months in the Queen City, Osman will work with the Lesbian & Gay Community Center and McColl Center on his āQueer Reclamation Community Outreach Project.ā
Heās providing disposable cameras to LGBT community members and asking them to take pictures of people, places and artifacts iconic of and symbolizing the cityās LGBT culture and community. In March, heāll combine the various community-submitted photos into at least one commemorative poster documenting queer life in the Queen City.
Osmanās local project is an extension of his lifeās passion.
āAll my documentary photography is mostly queer-themed work,ā he tells qnotes. āWhen they asked me to do a community project I came up with the idea of working with the Lesbian & Gay Center. It made sense.ā
Although heās only been in Charlotte for a few weeks, Osman says he likes what heās seen but didnāt have any expectations before visiting.
āI wasnāt expecting anything because I wasnāt familiar with what kind of reaction Iād get from people,ā he says. āPeople seem to be very nice.ā
And, even for a visitor, it doesnāt take long to adjust to life here: āI also find the city is not a big city but it is very spread out,ā he notes.
Osmanās final product will be unveiled at the McColl Center on March 19. In order to make that final product a success, heās asking folks to pick up and return the disposable cameras before the end of February. Cameras can be obtained at the Lesbian & Gay Community Center or the McColl Center. Individuals with photos of their own can burn them to a CD and drop them off at either location as well. : :
This article was published in the Feb. 20 ā Mar. 5 print edition.