The eldest son of Osama bin Laden has revealed he is painting America, in an attempt to recapture the peace of his innocent youth.
Omar bin Laden, like many others, has turned to art as a form of escapism, when the world all becomes too much, and he often uses the United States as his muse, capturing peaceful desserts and farmland.
The 39-year-old shares striking physical resemblance to his father, but his ideology could not be any different to the Al-Qaeda founder, having furiously condemning his father’s terrorist organisation and the bloodshed it caused.
Instead, Omar, who now lives in Normandy, France, takes after his mother’s side of the family, who are creative and artistic.
‘Some of my mum’s side of the family are very artistic. My mum loves painting, and so does one of my sisters. My uncle was also a very good artist. So, the need to draw and paint runs in my blood,’ Omar told Vice World News.
In many ways, he is no different from people all over the world, who turn to art as a form of escapism. Omar struggles with mental health problems, including bipolar disorder and other psychological scars brought on by his upbringing, and he has spent his life trying to be an ‘ambassador for peace’, in a bid to make up for his father’s mistakes.
‘I miss the fun times I had, the times when I was too young to know and too innocent to see the world around me. I miss the vast stretches of desert dunes and rolling seas. I miss the peace of childhood,’ Omar continued.
‘I want the world to learn that I have grown; that I am comfortable within myself for the first time in my life; that the past is the past and one must learn to live with what has gone by. One must forgive if not forget, so that one may be at peace with one’s emotions.’
His choice to depict scenes from the US is an interesting one, considering his father’s hatred of the country and the fact he has never been there. However, Omar puts this down to his love for Hollywood films.
‘I like old Western films. I respect cowboys, I love cowboy dignity,’ he said.
There’s no denying that Omar’s paintings are almost childlike, but there’s an unspoken sadness in them too; something which he says represents the sadness he often feels about the world.
‘I am sad at the way the world has changed since I was a child; I see the sadness in the eyes of others; I feel the pain that they feel,’ he said.
‘I see the loneliness and distress caused by famine and war; I see and feel the hurt caused by violence.’
Sadly, Omar cannot change his family’s past and all he can do is learn to accept what happened, which art has helped him to do, by taking him to ‘the world of dreams and imagination.’
‘I think I’m trying to find some light at the end of this dark road. I hope painting will open the light in my life again.’
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CreditsVice World News
Vice World News