The 4Most Gallery’s new art exhibition, “Nonsense,” a photography story about Omar, his hands, and his life will be on display from May 18 to 29.
Foad Seyed Mohammad told the story of a farmer and shepherd named Omar, who lost both his hands in a terrible childhood incident.
It was the mid-1990s and a civil war raged among the Kurds, including factions that were based in Iran. Omar didn’t remember what happened except that he woke up in a hospital bed to the sound of his mother’s wails. The family had found him covered in blood; they had thought he was dead. Instead, Omar learned to live without his hands.
Mohammadi’s images have etched Omar’s story into the collective mind of all who see it. With one photograph, he transports the viewer to a mountainous village and engulfs them in a story of hope and humanity.
One series of photographs documents Omar swimming in a pool. The pictures suspend him in time, in between strokes and splashes. The camera catches his smiling daughter; Omar’s arm resting on her shoulder.
Morgan Yacoe, the 32-year-old curator and resident artist at the 4Most Gallery, said she found the humanity Mohammadi invested in his work to be beautiful. She wanted to display this personal story at the gallery.
“I think the first thing that really struck me with Foad’s work, especially this exhibition, is how he created this body of work to help somebody in a very direct way,” Yacoe said.
“There’s a closeness to life within his pieces, within all of his work,” Yacoe added.
Mohammadi approached Yacoe with the idea to raise money to buy prosthetics for Omar.
Foad Seyed Mohammad grew up in Tehran, and after high school, he enrolled at the Tehran University of Art to study textile design, printing, and fashion. He moved to Gainesville in 2018 to pursue an MFA in photography; His passion for the camera, driven by a desire to help people with his work.
“I liked art as a kind of international language for connection between all cultures…without any limitation,” Mohammadi said.
Mohammadi especially loves portrait photography. As a volunteer at the Saraye Ehsan, a psychiatric hospital in Iran, he spent time teaching patients about photography as well as photographing them. The experience, he said, changed his life.