On the second floor of the McColl Center for Visual Art, Charlotte’s gay icons are captured on film—as we see them.
Artist Abdi Osman showcased his work during the closing reception on March 19 as part of the center’s Artist in Residence (AIR) program. His studio was the stereotypical artist’s space. Studio 215 had large windows, artwork clinging to starch white walls, bare concrete floors and exposed ductwork hung from the ceiling.
The artist made disposable cameras available to Charlotte’s LGBT residents so we could capture images that represented our community. He received 40 cameras back with more than 400 exposures. He combed through the images to create a mosaic picture, which he turned into a limited edition print.
Osman noticed there was not a single transgender person represented in the photos, so he decided to make the final image more androgynous. He says that he does not see trans people showcased very much in any part of the country.
As part of being an AIR he had to do a community project but he wanted to learn about Charlotte’s LGBT life. “I figured if I worked with the gay and lesbian community it would be a one-stop shop,” explained Osman.
He said he would like to come back to Charlotte and do something larger and more visible. He wants to photograph Charlotte’s LGBT activists and display them along Tryon St.
Osman explained that he is not a gay activist but he does have an interest in gay issues. “We are not invisible. I wanted to make it subtle but so you get the message,” he said. : :