Meet the Kenyan artist who paints African wildlife

From Kenya to Australia, Mahdhav Sarna is opening a new world into the abyss of wildness. A journey to connect the heart of every living species on the planet.

In a short interview, we will aim to allow you to connect a little deeper with the artist.

WHO ARE YOU?       

My name is Mahdhav Sarna and I am a wildlife artist, with a hope to explore our natural world and share moments of relatability and connection between us (humans) and wildlife in wild places. I currently live in Sydney but my strong bond with nature and wildlife stems from Kenya, where I was born and spent the early years of my life.

Mahdhav Sarna in the studio

WHICH 5 WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU?

Curious, patient, observant, friendly and creative

You, Are My Strength - original artwork

WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR CREATIVITY?
Art and creativity has always been at the forefront of my oldest memories. From my earliest days in school, art was the one subject I could truly loose track of time with. I loved drawing and had a large collection of materials and books from which I would draw anything that caught my eye. Even at this young age it was animals that were my main interest. I loved art over any other activity; and I still do. I guess that’s where it all started from and it hasn’t faded since.

WHAT'S THE BEST LESSON YOU'VE LEARNT ALONG THE WAY?

Always give it your best shot, give it time and trust yourself: as a self-taught artist I have learnt all my techniques and skill-set via trial and error. I feel that this process makes you adaptive, resourceful and allows you to find avenues that work for you. It helps you craft your own unique artistic language.

Things take time to develop, whether it is your artistic style, your art as a business or even you as an individual. Sometimes that bit of extra time and patience may be all you need to develop yourself or your perspective that little bit more, to make the next step more effective, to tackle the next challenge ahead.

And finally, always trust yourself. You have got yourself this far and at the end of the day, it is you, who is the source of your creative well.

The Gravity of An African Giant - original artwork

WHAT'S YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT?

I create wildlife art because I want to share and inspire people to care and connect with wildlife, to cultivate a love for them, admire them and recognise their inner wild-self within animals and lives that may seem so far removed from their own. I feel proudest when this happens. When an individual recognises something deeply personal in themselves reflected through either the visual artwork, the poetic narrative/voice of the art or a combination of the two. When they see themselves in the animal and at the same time, see the animal in themselves.

WHAT'S BEEN YOUR BEST DECISION?

I studied, trained and worked as an architect before moving to pursue art full-time. It was extremely daunting to make a move like that but it was something I felt I needed to do for myself. And it is the best decision I have made.

 The Meeting Point - original artwork

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

I feel that my biggest source of inspiration is Nature itself. It is the small synchronicities and details that really capture my imagination. The way the light shines through the leaves, seeing the heartbeat as you look closely at the side of a little lizard; or as a kookaburra tilts its head to get a better look at you, as you observe one another. These moments make me realise how alive our environment is and that’s what I want to share.

WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

To put it simply: wildlife, wild places and using my work to raise awareness for them, to help them thrive.

WHICH PERSON, LIVING OR DEAD, WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO MEET?

One of the most interesting people I have recently come across is Boyd Varty. He is a lion tracker, spiritual teacher/healer and author who lives on his family’s private game reserve, Londolozi, in Southern Africa. I find his teachings, philosophy and storytelling truly captivating and at times they have inspired me along my journey as an Artist.

An African Iceberg - original artwork

WHAT DREAM DO YOU STILL WANT TO FULFIL?

At this point in my career my next dream/goal is to have a solo show which really showcases my art and mission. My longer-term goal is to intertwine my work with National Parks and safari lodges/reserves to be closer to animals in the wild and use my art to aid in conservation efforts and education.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING OR LISTENING TO?

I am currently reading ‘A Lion Tracker’s Guide To Life’ by Boyd Varty and ‘Musashi’ by Eiji Yoshikawa.

FOR MORE ARTWORKS

The Night Patrol II

The Night Patrol II - original artwork

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