Kenyan artist Sarah Muthoni Ntiro is a teacher, painter, creative and CEO of her own company. She also greatly loves expressing herself through art and cooking where she is a chef to her keto-diet delicacies among other pastries.
Sarah has been an artist for as long as she can remember and has been very present in the Nairobi art Scene. Her art is very unconventional and always raising the interest of many.
Sarah is the CEO of Sama Paints, Foods, events and so much more. She designs and paints sneakers while making healthy home-made food for her other business venture.
Sarah granted Afro News an exclusive interview into her journey through art, self expression, starting a business(s) and how far she has come as an icon in her own making.
Where did your curiosity for the art world begin?
My curiosity for the art world I guess began with my Grandfather Prof. Sam Ntiro who was an Art professor at Makerere University that is in Uganda, in the 70’s. The paintings he did mainly comprised of the landscape of his village home in Moshi, Tanzania. He died when I was really young but my father made sure that I knew about his father’s works and showed them to me often…
What or who motivated you to be an artist?
One could say that I came from a family of artists and art has always been a part of our lives through the years. My Mother is an interior designer and my Father was a Musician in his youth. He played the flute in a jazz band.
This musical streak is also present in my brother who tries his hand at rapping.
When did you notice that art was something you wanted to do in the long run?
When I was in primary school I would often be found doodling or drawing and I Ioved challenging myself with different things I could draw. This drew the attention of my teachers who noticed I had a knack for art and writing. The writing part eludes me up to now, but such occurrences made my family also catch up to the fact I loved art.
In university I made the bold choice to make my artistic talents work for me and pay for my luxuries. That was the dawn of Sama Jewellery in 2012!! my own unique jewellery line.
My idea for starting Sama Jewellery stemmed from the fact that I could only find accessories that were common. Every where I turned, I found women with the same sort of pieces and I wanted to stand out. To be different from the rest and the only way that I could get what I needed was to do it myself.
My first line of pieces were made from ribbons and beads. The line mainly consisted of earrings and bracelets.
The coolest part of this was that my jewellery made quite the impression with the general public. I would go out to the club and people would literally buy the pieces off my body and that was super encouraging and exciting. This is every entrepreneur’s dream, that your products go flying off the shelves immediately they came in.
I then ventured into a different medium, zips! These were also a great hit while I was living in Eldoret which is a pretty small town compared to the vastness of Nairobi.
When did you start painting and what made you choose the visual arts as your medium?
Most recently (at the end of 2015) I started painting after around 11 years of no visual arts. I was encouraged to go into this ‘new-ish’ direction by a friend of mine that sweet talked me into painting something for an auction that she was participating in to raise money for a good cause.
During the auction my first painting went for double what I had thought it would go for and this was very exciting for me!!. After the auction people were curious about who the painting was by and that is how I found my way into the painting business.
By Rading’ Nyamwaya
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