Art is medicine in its many forms

Siralie is a abstract Kenyan artist. She started drawing when she was nine years old. Art allows her to express her feelings hence restoring her inner peace and inner balance.

Yvonne Wambui Siralie is an artist from Mombasa based in Nairobi, Kenya.  She is 26 years old and has been a professional artist for one and a half years. Her abstract paintings are very colorful and full of energy .

Creating

Siralie was nine when she started drawing cartoon-like characters on the back pages of her book. She continued drawing throughout high school, and she decided that one day she would be a full-time artist. 

After university she found herself in the hotel industry At the resort she worked at, she brought in good business and earned a high commission. She used this commission to get the supplies necessary to begin her new career path, art.

Art Movement

Siralie’s paintings are abstract paintings. “Abstract art is where the artist seeks to achieve the effect of external reality with the use of color, shapes and forms,” Siralie explains. “Abstract art gives freedom, and the flow of letting go is breathtaking,” she said.

Inspiration

When asked what inspires her, Siralie responds "Nature, always nature." Sometimes she also gets inspired by the day to day activities or work from other creatives like photographers. But nature is the biggest inspiration, nature is just like abstract art unorganized.  And with that it brings a lot of freedom to express yourself and your emotions. 

When Siralie gets inspiration, she will start with sketching the idea. She then decides on the color palette, gets in the right mindset and grabs her brushes. From that point on, she is in her own little bubble. 

Siralie paintings are all very colorful. This together with her use of many elegant strokes attained from flat bristles is a personal touch that can be seen in many of her paintings.

Expression

Not only Nature is an inspiration for Siralie, but also her emotions and feelings, which are expressed in her paintings. “I tend to paint my emotions, mostly it would be what I’m feeling while drawing inspiration for the project.” Siralie said.

A Piece with a lot of A emotions is Kicheko/Kilio. This is a piece Siralie made during a COVID-19 lockdown.
"I think the viewer can also feel what I was going through then. My canvas and acrylic paints were there for me, because honestly I just wanted to scream.” Siralie said. 

Mental Health

Creating art also contributes to Siralie’s own mental health. Art allows her to express her feelings, hence restoring her inner peace and inner balance. She said: “I believe in allowing my body to feel what it wants, as long as I don’t sit in those emotions. I would then channel all those energies into any creative project I have going on and before I know it, balance is regained.”

Art can also contribute to the mental health of those beyond the artist.  “Art is a medium of healing, it tends to  promote more access to the body and mind of the viewer. It creates powerful and lasting emotions that move the viewer to think of 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,” Siralie explains.

In her paintings she teaches us that “it’s okay to not be okay, because one thing for sure is that we always bounce back at some point.” She continues by saying, “C’est la vie. Mental Health needs more unashamed conversations.”  

“Let’s keep supporting art, it is a medicine in its many forms,” concludes Siralie. 

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