Interview: Art Therapy on Canvas

Creative outlets are like medium of healing, refraining, transforming and relating, for me painting is that place, my happy place and safe space.

NAIROBI, Kenya, August 1, 2020/-- We start a new month with a passionate abstract artist who is taking major strides in creation of positive human experiences. Her remarkable work immerses one in spontaneous splash of colour with contemplative storytelling.

In this Kikao, Siralie explores the link between art and mental wellbeing, online exhibition, coming up with a creative outlet and more.

Let Kikao begin...

[Question 1] Siralie welcome to Kikao. Introduce yourself.

I’m Siralie Yvonne, a contemporary artist from Mombasa based here in Nairobi. My work is inspired by nature and powered by imaginations with the use of acrylic paints, brushes and palette knives to create an abstract expression of my ideas.

I began professional art in 2019 and so far my work has been exhibited both virtually and physically, at ISK, Nairobi Gallery and The National Museum just to name a few.

[Question 2] There is strong relationship between art and mental health. Engage us with the benefits of this art therapy approach in maintaining mental wellness.

Art creates powerful and lasting emotions that moves the viewer to think of the deep issues and act upon them. This is because visual images stick with us more than just words, it allows the viewer to make sense of the imagery, it gives them back the control of their lives even if the situation is hopeless by providing them with a safe space to express emotions and even access memories. It leaves the viewer with a certain sense of balance in life, feeling accepted and a sense of connection. I also believe it’s necessary for us to do a genuine check in with ourselves regularly and to learn how to put the pieces together on our own.

[Question 3] Abstraction is your forte exemplified with your elegant and gritty paintings. Why abstract art?

I read somewhere a phrase that said ‘in abstract there are no rules’ and that sounded more like home. It changed everything because the focal point was the freedom of personal expression and effortless flow and it allowed me to express my love for color as well. Creating abstract art makes me think of nature and the fact that it doesn’t organize itself into a pleasing composition, it just is as it is. The flow that comes from letting go is breathtaking.

[Question 4] You recently run an online exhibition dubbed “A Queen Finding Herself Series”.Share with us your experience.

‘A Queen Finding Herself’ is personal to me as it tends to empower women to remember our power and acknowledge the force within us. 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.

[Question 5] What is that “One” piece of work that you would wish to talk about?

At the moment ‘New Hope’ my latest project. A lot is going on at the moment, the impact novel coronavirus is having on us on top of our daily life challenges. This piece held me together after allowing thoughts of doubts and worries to penetrate. It filled me with so much light, I had so much fun while creating it and ended up feeling brand new with a new sense of hope. Ready to tackle life head on.

[Question 6] With self-isolation and curtailing of gatherings during this corona virus pandemic, many are seeking a creative outlet. How do you create one?

True, many are now forced to embrace solitude and come up with effective outlets. Creative outlets are like medium of healing, refraining, transforming and relating, for me painting is that place, my happy place and safe space. We can start with what we love doing, it can be any form of art as along it resonates with you and you can feel it in your heart then the passion will keep growing.

[Question 7] How has the coastal city of Mombasa contributed to your being?

Mombasa being a tourism-based city, it opened my mind on a couple of things: why I should travel to experience different cultures to see things from different point of views, appreciating the beauty of nature and why it’s important for me to follow my dreams. From high school, to college and to the few years spent in the hotel industry, the Island has a special place in my heart and will forever be my home.

The written interview was compiled by Phineahs Munene – Co-founder of Wazo Moja for Siralie Yvonne – of Art by Siralie

Distributed by Wazo Moja on behalf of Art by Siralie


Art by Siralie