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January 19, 2019

Guest column: Art can create jobs for many youths

Mohamed Mwarua at Swahili pot hub training kids on art and drawing in the Malaika Kids fashion programe
Mohamed Mwarua at Swahili pot hub training kids on art and drawing in the Malaika Kids fashion programe

I want to change the face of art through teaching my skills to young children,” Mohamed Mwarua, a 24-year-old graffiti artist, says.

His vision is to have a big studio full of equipment that will enable him to showcase his work and also teach aspiring artists on this amazing talent.

He terms artwork as therapy, as it makes one relax as he thinks of what the picture is all about, and also beautifies a place.

As of now, he trains children aged 5-10 years in a fashion programme in Mombasa known as Malaika Kids.

He is asking people to understand, appreciate and embrace art so that many artists can move forward using art as a business venture and also as a passion.

In Mombasa, he says, many youths are jobless. There are many who have the talent of art, but as a business, it is not being taken with the seriousness it deserves.



Mwarua started doing art at the age of six, when he was in primary school. He would draw on the ground using a stick.

He started earning from his talent when he was in secondary school, whereby he used to draw school diagrams for colleagues who were too lazy to do them on their own.

At that time, he used to charge Sh10 per diagram and yes, he used to earn a lot, because per day he would make Sh200, which he used as pocket money. Not bad for a high school kid.

“In a group, every student would want to be in the same group as me if it was an assignment that needed diagrams,” Mwarua said.

His quest to upgrade his talent after finishing his secondary school was hindered by the fact that there was no recognised university in Mombasa with an art course.

Therefore, he decided to take a media course, which he thinks closely relates to art.

After finishing his college, he took a short art course and he has now improved his skills.



One of his best artworks was a graffiti he did on a wall, called ‘Upendo’. This is one of his best because he just woke up one day and decided to do this on a wall, and what came to his head was the name ‘upendo’, meaning love.

This graffiti, located in Mtwapa, was meant to pass out a message of love.

“People need to love one another, and this artwork was one of my best because it is meant to bring people together and encourage peace,” he said.

Another favourite drawing he did was on a piece of paper, one of the famous footballer Mo Salah.

This was the first one he did with just a pen, and it turned out to be one of his best.

For now, Mwarua has his own business, which he calls Modiire Creations.

In this business, he intends to sell his work nationally and internationally through majoring in graffiti and drawing using a pen and also T-shirt painting.

For him to succeed, he needs people to see the importance of art, drawing and painting.

“As artists, we need to be united. People give up on art because they feel that there is no market for it,” he said.

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