Diriye Osman

ArtBeat Africa

Artbeat Africa brings together some of the best cultural reports and interviews by the Focus on Africa team from the last seven days. In this week's edition we'll hear from Somali author Diriye Osman, winner of the Polari Prize for his short story collection, "Fairytales for Lost Children". We'll also hear from London-based Nigerian Grime MC, Afrikan Boy. And, also, continuing with our Africa Beats series, we're in Rwanda with the band called the Good Ones.

Diriye Osman: Why We Must Tell Our Own Stories

"I write for anyone who has an interest in the lives of others, which is all readers. But my primary interest is in representing the complex but universal experience of Somalis. I do this because the media representation of the global Somali community is one that is carved out of derivative clichés. My book "Fairytales for Lost Children" was important for me to write as an openly gay Somali man because I was telling an untold story. Not all my future books will focus strictly on the gay Somali experience.

How Art Can Save a Life

"Salvation came in the form of art. I had always loved painting and my parents were proud and supportive. Inspired by fashion magazines, I drew androgynous women in sultry outfits and souped up stances. As I honed my skills, the art fizzed with a fantastical, psychedelic exuberance. I was a repressed gay teenager, and these images - and the act of creating them - helped me to externalize my dreams and desires without fearing denunciation."

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