This January, Sala’s Camp was honoured to host renowned Kenyan artist, Adrian Nduma, for a two-week residency in the Masai Mara.

Sala’s guests enjoyed watching Adrian in action

‘Sala’s has been inspiring as it’s close to my heart. The game drives were incredibly rich and discussions with the drivers gave me such a depth of knowledge about what I was seeing.’ ~ Adrian Nduma

From the president’s house to restaurants and celebrity homes, Adrian’s work adorns the walls of public and private buildings worldwide. Although Adrian has loved art since boyhood, he first went into high school teaching, before working as a graphic designer and then pursuing a career in banking. Halfway through completing an MBA, he couldn’t ignore his artistic calling any longer, so he quit his job, opened his own gallery and started life as a full-time artist. When asked if he’s ever looked back, he quickly replied “No! It’s a fulfilling career and something I love doing, plus everything I did before was helpful in growing my art career.”

Beginning to take shape

As one of the most successful artists in Kenya, we chatted to Adrian about his time at Sala’s Camp and his top tips for anyone eager to ‘paint’ the wild…

What was it like painting in the garden at Sala’s Camp? It was fun as people were looking at me in action, seeing how I was approaching the art. It de-mystifies the art for them, as they see how I apply the paint and colours and so on. Sometimes it can be daunting if you’re trying to work on a particular detail of a painting, but of course people weren’t watching me full time! It was a fulfilling experience for me and my audience.

‘Sala’s was just awesome; every day was different and the experience of interacting with the guests and answering their questions was great. The Sala’s team are wonderful people. And of course, the game drives and the sunsets!’

Adrian’s artwork completed whilst at Sala’s Camp

Can you share tips for safari-goers keen to create some art? The most important thing is to have an open mind and to experiment. The thing about art is it is just a flow. It’s not about how well a sketch is done, but it’s about the experience of trying to capture the tree or the animal or whatever the memory is. Sometimes the outcome is not always anticipated! If you have some paper and pencils, you will catch something of the memory.

What are your top three art supplies to take with limited space? A small sketchpad of high-quality watercolour paper, some pencils and a box of watercolours. Watercolour paints are so tiny and easy to transport, with space for a brush and mixing palette all in one box.

Adrian in action in front of Tent 3 at Sala’s Camp

You’ve painted everything from landscapes to people and wildlife to livestock. What do you love best? I really just flow. I absolutely don’t have a preference. Things often happen in ‘seasons’. For example, I might have a seascape season after travelling to the coast. Then I’m in town and inspired by the bustle of busy streets.

‘Going on game drives to see wildlife and the trees and the general landscape, the evening sunsets and the morning sunrises, was quite inspiring.’

What’s your preferred media? Acrylic paint on canvas, because it dries fast and achieves the same colour and characteristics of oils, but without the fumes!

Adrian’s acrylic paints

Capturing a lilac-breasted roller bird

Do you have a sketchbook? I got my speed when I was working in the advertising world as a graphic designer, so now a lot of the time I format work in my mind and go direct to the canvas. I sketch in paint!

What’s on the horizon for you? To keep creating lots more art. Exploring the art scene in Kenya and internationally. I’m always developing my style and hope to exhibit more internationally in the future.

Experiences to inspire in the Masai Mara

We love being inspired by nature and like to give our guests the chance to get creative on safari too! That’s why, in each of our tents you’ll find a simple sketch pad and paints to use during your stay.

Known for his nature inspired art with an abstract twist, Adrian takes commissions. You can visit his gallery, Bonzo, on Ngong Road in Nairobi, where he showcases his own work alongside regional artists who he feels are addressing issues in a creative and talented way. Follow him on Instagram @adrian_nduma to see more.