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In Pics | Drawing in customers with art in Mogadishu

Somalian artist Muawiye Hussein Sidow’s hand drawn murals liven up more than 100 shops with their eye-catching simplicity across Mogadishu.

world Updated: Jul 27, 2017 11:40 IST
Somali dentist Hassan Ali, had the walls of his dental clinic decorated with Sidow’s murals in Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu, Somalia.
Somali dentist Hassan Ali, had the walls of his dental clinic decorated with Sidow’s murals in Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu, Somalia.(Feisal Omar / REUTERS)

A collection of yawing mouths and extracted teeth, booming stereo speakers and colourful hookah pipes adorn shop fronts in Somalia, a colourful contrast to the airbrushed artworks of big business.

Muawiye Hussein Sidow, also known as Shik Shik, stands in front of a mural he painted on a shop wall in Mogadishu. (Feisal Omar / REUTERS)

Somali mural artist Muawiye Hussein Sidow, also known as “Shik Shik”, is the man responsible for the art that features on more than 100 shops, including barbers, tea shops and supermarkets across Mogadishu.

A mural showing spare parts for vehicles is seen on a wall of a shop in Hodan district of Mogadishu, Somalia. (Feisal Omar / REUTERS)

Sidow’s work has a hand-drawn simplicity, usually involving bright, eye-catching colours. Some pieces stretch over several metres.

An illustration prohibiting weapons, broken bottles, cigarettes and military is seen on a wall of a stadium in Mogadishu’s Hodan district. (Feisal Omar / REUTERS)

Sidow’s father was a commercial artist, who passed his knowledge and skills on to his son.

A mural depicting lions advertises Shik Shik’s services outside his art shop in Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu. (Feisal Omar / REUTERS)

Sidow, 31, took on his father’s business in 1998 and his painting supports not only his own family, but helps sustain his dad as well as many others.

“I make the pictures to get daily food for my wife and three kids,” he told Reuters.

One of Sidow’s murals on the wall of a fast food store illustrating food and drinks in Wabari district of Mogadishu. (Feisal Omar / REUTERS)

“I also give daily food to (my) retired old father. Now I have become an art teacher there are many artists whom I taught how to make pictures, and they also get their daily food.”

A mural is seen on a wall of a shop in Hodan district of Mogadishu, Somalia. (Feisal Omar / REUTERS)

Sidow said he never duplicated murals and that inspiration came from Somali daily life.

Aside from feeding his family and brightening up the urban landscape, Sidow still has ambitions to do more with his art.

A shop front mural advertises traditional Somali tools and equipment in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu, Somalia. (Feisal Omar / REUTERS)

“God willing, I hope I will also make pictures in the neighbouring countries.”