Advertising Mogadishu style: Somali artist's charming murals on over 100 shops draw customers in

Brightly coloured murals allow potential customers to see what is on offer inside shops that don't have large display windows.

Garish paintings of wide open mouths and extracted teeth adorn the walls of a building in Mogadishu, alerting passersby to the presence of a dental clinic. This is just one of more than 100 shopfronts across Mogadishu painted by Somalian mural artist Muawiye Hussein Sidow, better known as "Shik Shik".

Somali dentist Hassan Ali, 35, sits inside his dental clinic in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu, decorated with murals by Shik ShikFeisal Omar/Reuters

Store-front murals are a common form of advertising in Mogadishu, allowing people to see what is on offer inside shops that don't have large display windows. Sidow's work has a hand-drawn simplicity, a contrast to the airbrushed artworks of big business. His murals usually involve bright, eye-catching colours. Some pieces stretch over several metres.

Muawiye Hussein Sidow, also known as Shik Shik, stands in front of a mural he painted on a shop wall in MogadishuFeisal Omar/Reuters
A mural on a shop front in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu depicts electrical appliances, cosmetics and general goods for saleFeisal Omar/Reuters
A mural illustrating educational classes is seen on the outside of a building in the Wabari district of MogadishuFeisal Omar/Reuters
A mural on the wall of a fast food store illustrates food and drinks in the Wabari district of MogadishuFeisal Omar/Reuters
A mural shows spare parts for vehicles on a wall of a shop in the Hodan district of MogadishuFeisal Omar/Reuters
A mural depicting gas canisters and appliances is seen on a wall of a shop in the Hodan district of MogadishuFeisal Omar/Reuters
A mural on a beauty salon in the Hodan district of MogadishuFeisal Omar/Reuters
A mural on a shop front in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu shows a PlayStation 3Feisal Omar/Reuters
A mural on a shop front in the Wabari district of Mogadishu depicts electrical appliancesFeisal Omar/Reuters
A mural on a shop front in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu shows traditional Somali tools and equipmentFeisal Omar/Reuters
A mural on the wall of a shop in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu depicts electrical appliances, cosmetics and beveragesFeisal Omar/Reuters
A mural illustrating electronic appliances is seen on a wall of a shop in the Hamarweyne district of MogadishuFeisal Omar/Reuters

Sidow's father was a commercial artist, who passed his knowledge and skills on to his son. Now 31, Sidow took over 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.

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The Shik Shik Arts studio, in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu, has a mural depicting lionsFeisal Omar/Reuters

He told Reuters he has become an art teacher, and has passed along his skills to others who have gone on to make a living in the same industry. 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, he has further artistic ambitions: "God willing, I hope I will also make pictures in the neighbouring countries," he told Reuters.

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