How Joho's Painting Changed Mombasa Girl's Life [VIDEO]

  • Artist Yvonne Siralie presenting a painting to Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho
    Artist Yvonne Siralie presenting a painting to Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho
  • When Yvonne Siralie decided to shoot her shot at Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, she was engaging in painting as a passion

    Concerned about how she would popularise her creative works, she decided to paint an abstract photo of Governor Joho and sent it to him through a private message on Instagram. 

    To her surprise, the politician, who is a lover of art, responded stating that he liked the painting, and went on to ask for a meeting with Siralie. 

    "My first client was actually Governor Joho. I really needed to get my work out there, and I was asking myself how I would go about it. I thought about sending it to him with the hope that one day he will see it," she recalled. 

    Yvonne Siralie showcasing some of her abstract art
    Yvonne Siralie showcasing some of her abstract art

    When delivering the artwork, Siralie cleverly decided to carry two more paintings which Joho bought as well as branded merchandise to support her work.

    "I am really grateful because he opened up an entire world to me, he opened that window that I wanted with the snap of a finger," she expressed.

    In an industry where work is very dependent on referrals and exposure, Joho shared Siralie's work with his over 900,000 followers on social media. 

    The artist is one of the many who embrace the use of technology to improve their art, having learnt how to paint on YouTube. 

    Her work is inspired by nature and powered by imaginations which she likes to bring to life using acrylic paints, brushes and palette knives.

    Siraile began professional art in 2019 and so far her work has been exhibited both virtually and physically, at ISK, Nairobi Gallery and The National Museum.

    After the Covid-19 pandemic hit Kenya, she was forced to take her scheduled exhibition dubbed A Queen Finding Herself online.

    "The series has pieces embracing beauty, speaking up and self-belief. The online exhibition was done on Instagram and Facebook with the help of Film Maker ‘Bevon Keith. The exhibition was an introduction to the series and the feedback from the viewers was encouraging.

    "People are open to the idea of giving art digital means of creative expression and it’s promising. I am working on the 5th piece and looking forward to doing another exhibition covering the whole project, she explained.