Senegalese man’s art worth Cheikh-ing out
The man was born in Senegal. The artist within was born in Quincy.
Cheikh Diouf, a retired aeronautics programmer, credits his moving to Quincy Valley a few years back with helping him discover a passion for acrylic painting.
Diouf, whose first name is pronounced “check,” is the featured artist this month at Quincy Public Library.
Born in Senegal, a country on the western side of Africa, 65 years ago, he led a peripatetic existence that took him from places like Paris as a student to Seattle as a programming professional, until he ended up in Quincy, following his wife and her desire to be near family.
He first came to Quincy in 2008 and began learning about the area and the history of the town, participating in the weekly summer tours.
During one such tour, he heard the late Carl Weber, whose family had homesteaded in Quincy, singing “Oh, Quincy Land,” and that’s all it took. The music sparked something in Diouf, who began seeking for an outlet for his inspiration.
He would not find it for a few years, until 2015, when his wife began talking to him about the irrigation systems in and around the area. Only then could he see it in his mind’s eye: The sunshine, the crops, the circles, the river.
Diouf said he then rushed to a store, bought some paints, brushes and a canvas, and completed his first work of art in more than 30 years, titled “Quincy Land.”
What has followed has been a torrent of inspiration, all immortalized on canvas, using acrylics and brushes, and sometimes, just his fingers, like he did on his last painting, now hanging from the library walls for this exhibit.
Asked why he didn’t start sooner than 2015, his voice seems to shrug. “I don’t know,” he said. His mind was ready, he said, and kept him looking for a creative outlet. He just happened to not find it until he was 60.
“Now you come in my house, and you see paintings everywhere on the walls,” he said.
Paintings of things as varied as landscapes, or his wife sitting on the couch watching TV can be found at the Diouf-Sauber home. A small portion of that impressive portfolio can now be found at the city library, each piece signed with the homophone associated with his first name, a check mark, and one of his initials inside.
“(Painting) gives me a lot of joy,” Diouf said.
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org