Five Omar Mualimmak was born in Ethiopia and grew up in different cities across America, eventually settling in New York. Five came from a family of revolutionaries–his father was in the Black Liberation Army for many years and his mother was a committed activist.
When he was incarcerated for twelve years in New York State, and thrown into solitary confinement for five of those years—there, in extreme isolation, he started to draw portraits—dreaming of people. Five spent hours etching, turning plain pieces of paper into dynamic portraits of people with incredible texture and detail. In a word where he spent twenty-three hours a day—alone—drawing kept him sane.
Today, five is a dedicated anti-prison and anti-solitary confinement human rights activist. He works closely with a number of anti-prison organizations in New York and across the country.