Benjamin Obiero, a self-taught artist at his stall in Ulowa village, Siaya County. Photo[Isaiah Gwengi].

In a makeshift shop on Usenge-Osieko road in Siaya County, Benjamin Obiero calmly moves his paintbrush across a canvas, slowly producing a captivating painting of a lion.

It is here that the 30-year-old is now nurturing his ability to draw and paint after alcoholism almost ruined his life. Today, the self-taught painter ekes out a living from brush and paint.

Growing up, Obiero knew he loved to draw and got inspired by pieces of art around him; from wall paintings outside butcheries, bars and beauty salons to caricatures.

However, his father, who was a jua kali artisan, would beat him up whenever he caught him drawing instead of doing his homework.

“My father used to pull my ears and even cane me every time he found me drawing,” recalls Obiero.

But the beatings did not deter him. Instead, he found an inspiration and determination in the pain. He said that his mother appreciated his talent and nurtured his potential by giving him coloured pencils, paper and occasionally, paints.