In Johannesburg, South Africa, young artist Sarah Dahir takes to her iPad to create simplistic, geometrical designs to capture the essence of sisterhood through muted, earth tone pastels. Upon first observation of her digital medium, you would believe Dahir has been doing this all her life, drawing inspiration from human interaction in one of world's youngest major metropolises. However, what had initially started out as a hobby 2 years ago has now become a full time career.
Wondery: What inspired you to start your career as an artist?
Dahir: I did not plan on having a career as an artist. I went to University and got a degree in digital marketing. While I was looking for a job in this field, I started illustrating and sharing my work on instagram just as a hobby. But my page grew quite quickly and people started asking for commission pieces and prints! I realized that I could do this as a career, so I put all my energy into doing this full time.
Wondery: What has been the most rewarding experience you’ve had regarding your artistic career thus far?
Dahir: Definitely seeing my prints in people’s homes all over the world. I love when people send me snaps of my illustrations as part of their house decor. It's crazy to me that my works resonates with people across all different continents.
Wondery: Your growth as an artist has been incredible! Especially considering you only started doing this professionally for only 1 year! Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Dahir: Hopefully, just growing more in my craft, exploring different art techniques. I love learning new things and new ways to create art, I never want to feel stagnant.
Wondery: Have you ever experienced moments of doubt about your art or your unique style? How did you overcome it?
Dahir: Definitely! Sometimes, like any artist, experience a creative block, and it can be frustrating but it’s normal. It’s not realistic to think of new ideas all the time, so I just take a break and do other things until I find inspiration again. I don’t compare myself to other artists but I’m definitely inspired by their work and it motivates me to push myself.
Wondery: We are really excited to see what you’ll come up with next! What upcoming projects can we expect from @nawaal_illustrations?
Dahir: I definitely want to explore more in the fashion and clothing industry. I love fashion and would love to create some pieces that incorporate my art. Right now it’s just a thought, but will hopefully materialize in the future. Working with Wondery on these pieces is already the first step.
This piece shows a group of girls just relaxing and enjoying brunch. It shows a sense of community and friendships, and in my opinion the best way to spend your Sundays.
Take A Leap
I've always admired ballet, and thought it was such a beautiful dance. Unfortunately, I never got to practice it when I was younger. I wanted to create a piece to show my admiration of the dance, I painted the three girls in different poses to create a sense of movement.
Power To The People
I painted this during the Black Lives Matter protest in June last year. I wanted to create a piece depicting unity, to emphasize that there is strength in unity and if we come together we can achieve real change.
For this piece I just wanted to create a portrait of a woman, her posture and minimal colors creates a sense of lightness that is almost freeing.
Want to see more of Sarah? Follow @nawaal_illustrations