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    Ousmane Diop

    *1963, Senegal

    Ousmane Diop was born in Dakar in 1963 as the son of a carpenter. His mother died young, as did three of his four direct siblings. He lives in an extended family group with his aunt, his father’s second wife and her two sons and families, where he says he is treated with kindness. He attended school for six years, then completed an apprenticeship in tailoring, and later traded jeans and shoes from The Gambia. He has been receiving psychiatric care at Hôpital Fann (Centre Hospitalier National Universitaire de Fann) in Dakar since 1993. The psychiatric department of this university hospital works increasingly according to western standards of medical practice. Ousmane Diop also consulted marabouts, local traditional healers, about his illness and as time went by he gave them all his money. In Senegal society it is widely believed that mental illnesses are caused by the spirits of ancestors and other supernatural influences. Mental illness is also seen as a social phenomenon.

    Since 2004 Ousmane Diop has attended the Atelier d’Expression at Hôpital Fann, where he began to paint in 2006. The Atelier was founded around the year 2000 by the art therapist Alassane Seck. He encourages patients to express themselves artistically, with his help, although he does not intervene or set any rules for their creative work. He provides materials for the artists, but does not follow any specific art therapy programme or training concept. For Alassane Seck the attractiveness of the space in the Atelier d’Expression is also a key priority and he holds exhibitions, both at the hospital and elsewhere.

    I (Hannah Rieger) bought Ousmane Diop’s picture L’Oiseau (Poulet), painted in acrylics on linen in 2009, in an auction of works from the Atelier d’Expression on 10 June 2016 at Camera Austria in Graz. This auction was part of the exhibition “Friedl Kubelka: Atelier d’Expression (Dakar)”, curated by Maren Lübbke-Tidow, Camera Austria, 11 June to 14 August 2016.

     

    Selected works