At a very young age, Ellam Omwaka Ombula who goes by the artist name Yabish found himself doodling on books with charcoal, pencils and crayons.
His very first drawing assignment in kindergarten sparked his interest and love for art. The assignment was to draw anything and he has not stopped drawing and sketching to this day.
Having had a humble upbringing, Ellam’s mother was not able to take him through college so he got his first job as a butcher.
“I would paint at night after I came home from work and over the weekends, I would sell the paintings in supermarkets. I was able to sell my very first painting at 1,000 Kenya Shillings and it was not until then that I believed I could be a full time artist.”
Yabish’s first sale gave him the strength to continue being an artist and a few years later, his friend introduced him to an art gallery where he sold his second painting. He immediately quit his full time job as a butcher to focus on his art.
“I would describe my work as hyper-realism inspired by the African Lifestyle.”
“When I found out I was chosen to be in Safaricom’s 2019 calendar, I was extremely happy and grateful that they honoured my work and that of other artists in Kenya. Being shortlisted to be part of This is My Kenya campaign is a dream come true for me.
This painting was inspired by the bond created when a mother carries a child on her back. It reminds Yabish of the bond between him and his mother who is the biggest supporter of his work.
“My advice to other artists would be to keep practising and never give up.”
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