Yasin Osman, a rising star in the world of photography, loves Regent Park. The 25-year old artist has already made his mark on his neighbourhood, founding #shootforpeace, a grassroots arts mentorship program that engages local youth in storytelling through photography. Now, he’s getting ready for his first solo photography show, Dear Ayeeyo, opening May 4 in the Daniels Spectrum Hallway Galleries.
Dear Ayeeyo presents large-scale photos taken during a visit to Somalia, where Yasin’s parents are from. The images offer an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of villagers, illuminating a resilient human spirit.
The show is dedicated to Osman’s grandmother and the country she knew.
Yasin travelled to Somalia with Love Army for Somalia to bring his Shoot for Peace program to children living in refugee camps, after pitching the idea to Vine celebrity Jérôme Jarre. The resulting images released on Instagram showed the world a different side of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia—one full of hope, love and unity.
His unique approach to documentary photography, the warmth and emotion of his images, and his focus on powerful stories of marginalization and culture have earned Yasin an international following on Instagram and 550px of 200,000 and climbing.
Yasin’s mission to bring people together and promote compassion using the creative power of photo is apparent in Dear Ayeeyo.
“For me, the most important thing is the opportunity for people to see a different, more caring version of Somalia than they’ve seen in mainstream media. My grandmother said, as long as you plan on helping our people then you have my blessing. I realized that I’m now fulfilling my grandmother’s promise.”
Dear Ayeeyo opens May 4 in the Hallway Galleries at Daniels Spectrum, with a reception from 5:30 to 9:30 PM. It is a Feature Exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and presented by The Daniels Corporation. He is represented by KZM Agency in Toronto.