Physically challenged sculptor selling artwork to African presidents for Ksh500,000

Samuel Otieno
Samuel Otieno, a physically challenged sculptor. [Photo: Standard]

Samuel Otieno hit the headlines a few days ago due to his impressive sculpture art.

For years, he has been sitting on his talent after being trained on how to draw saintly images.

But it was just recently when he decided to come out with the caricatures of African presidents among the President Uhuru Kenyatta.

He also has a variety of caricatures of different politicians.

He sold off his first piece of art to Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang Nyong’o during a talent exhibition show held recently at Kit-Mikayi in Seme.

Otieno also sold a second sculpture of Seme MP Dr James Nyikal for Ksh10,000. He made Ksh20,000 on that day.

Speaking to the Standard recently, Otieno said that he is now eyeing taking his business to African heads of state with his price tag for each sculpture going for Ksh500,000 for this clientele.

He challenged the government to introduce this form of art teaching in schools and other institutions to help the youth get more skills.

“Students in schools should be taught this art and I will be glad if they can see my paints and learn from them,” he said.

When his work went out on social media, Otieno received a fair share of ridicule from some Kenyans on social media.

They ridiculed his work citing examples of sculpture he carved for Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka. They said that they bore no resemblance at all to the two leaders.

However, his wife Millicent Atieno said that ever since her husband’s work was shared on the internet, they have been receiving a huge number of potential clients.

Atieno termed this a “good sign” after a lengthy period of patience and persistence given that he is physically challenged.

Otieno uses one hand to carve the sculptures. One of his hands and legs were paralysed when he was three years old from polio.

He never attended school and he started his antique work with clay when he was five years old and at 10, both his parents died.

Left with no other means of survival he went to Kisumu where he started a business in selling his drawings which he made from clay sourced from Kakamega forest.

Today, the father of seven has managed to open a barbershop besides the sculpture business.