Born in Mombasa, Kenya, and belonging to the original Swahili tribe, Al Amir grew up playing on the narrow Arabic-influenced streets of Old Town Mombasa.
An interesting cultural mix, the east coast of Kenya and Tanzania was in the past colonized by both the Omani Arabs and the Portuguese. Today the streets of Old Town Mombasa still reflect the Arab and Latin architecture deeply immersed in the African Arabic cultures.
Through his paintings you can see that Al Amir wants to remember and reflect the rich history of his East African coast and the influences it has had on his powers of perception and his color palette. In many of his paintings you can feel the heat emanating from the white-washed walls and want to take refuge inside. The stone walls keep people cool, even as they sip their strong sweet coffee. Even to this day the Old Town has changed little – the narrow streets, the bright white walls, and the ornate woodwork of the doors and lentils remain as a reminder of the past.
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