Art is a means used to express human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. Over the years, the craft has had rapid growth, with more emerging artists, and has created huge impacts across different fields.
31-year-old Sahr Mortatay Songu Mbriwa is a Sierra Leonean artist making a difference in the country’s art sector. Mbriwa is part of the Bondumani Art in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, he does visual arts, creative painting, portrait painting, pop art, landscape painting, abstract painting, and collage art.
The International Relations graduate from Milton Margai Technical University is a self-taught artist who started rehearsing art at age 6. For him, art is most times a reproductively visualized product of his imagination and realistic point of view. The majority of the work he does depicts everyday lifestyle, mood, adventures, passion, and love.
“My biggest artistic influence has always been myself. I’ve always dreamed of my unique level of creativity and my work always drew towards my intended outcome and no plagiarism,” said Mbriwa.
However in Sierra Leone, despite the improvements over the years, art is also criticized, and less supportive. The work comes with several challenges, as there is no one to act as a personal guide or role model to spur up and stimulate the desire of young artists in the country.
Mbriwa’s artistic journey has experienced so many challenges, he had a tough start, and later at some point, he almost gave up, but his persistence, perseverance, and endless focus have kept him going.
“I always say art chose me, even though I had a remarkably challenging start. I found art as a gift I couldn’t resist and being an artist is the only thing that brings me joy. I find joy in my artwork and everyday commitment to my work,” Mbriwa explained.
Yet, on the upside art is important to society, it creates a useful blend with the perceptions of life. It’s also a source of joy, happiness, and relief. The craft serves as a useful means of acquiring knowledge and expanding understanding. Since ancient days its impact has been portrayed in every aspect of the everyday life of humans.
Mbriwa’s creativity is not determined by the time of the day. He mostly creates his art at midnight, describing the night as a time his mind is well-focused with fewer distractions. Also, he uses the day to find attractive colors that suit the context of his work.
His aim is to ensure that his paintings will positively impact humanity as a whole, create relief, and increase joy in many hearts. The success of an artist is defined by the lasting positive effect the minds of the viewers get from his or her work.
“I appreciate my artwork when it interacts with societal values and illuminates virtues that are considered for change, increased love, passion, joy, or overall global impact. With integrity and humility I envision my paintings will continue to free up minds and liberate ideas that will serve a global impact limitless to generations,” said Mbriwa.
However, his career path has been helpful in his life, it has created a source of revenue and self-employment for him. As a result of the joy he has created in my life, he has been able to network with top personalities in society, attended events, and visited places he never thought of at the initial start.
To keep up to standard with the brand he has created for himself, he tries to develop his skills by constantly seeking knowledge, and continuing to be passionate and focused in every work that he embarks on.