Boushra Sanosi

Boushra Sanosi is an IT Trainer for the NHS. Art has always been his passion, but in 2016 he joined a Life Drawing class at The Royal Drawing School, and he hasn't stopped since...

Boushra self-portrait

I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil! 

Growing up in semi- rural Africa in the 1960s, I was surrounded by beautiful scenery and incredible people. It also meant I had very limited access to art materials. However, I learnt to improvise and made use of what I had - which was pencils, charcoal and often an old piece of wood as my canvas when my paper ran out. I would draw anything and everything; people, comic book characters, images from newspapers and from school textbooks. I remember I did my first self-portrait as a teenager on a sheet of lined paper. During the rainy season, one thing that helped me to understand the human head was sculpting people, heads and animals using mud. I didn’t know anything about proportions or perspectives at that time. I just recreated what I saw. Much of my inspiration still comes from my early drawing experiences growing up. 

I eventually came to live in the UK with my partner in the early 90s. I became an IT Trainer by profession, but art remained my passion. I remember going into a local art shop and being overwhelmed by the materials on display. I wanted to try everything!

Boushra Life Drawing

In 2016 I attended a Life Drawing course at The Royal Drawing School. This completely reignited my passion for drawing; I loved having the opportunity to share a studio with fellow artists, which was something I hadn’t experienced before. I’ve also attended Painting a Head with Robert Juke, and Drawing a Head online with Ian Rowlands and Sharon Brindle. I’ve enjoyed being taught online; as an IT person, I like combining creativity with technology! The tutors have been excellent, with good and constructive individual feedback each week. The courses give you the motivation you sometimes lack to keep going. You get to see other people’s artwork, and by displaying your own work you can see the progress you’re making every week. Taking these courses has given me the confidence to self-publish a book on Drawing the Head. 

Boushra self-portrait 2

As an IT Trainer for the NHS, teaching back-to-back sessions can be pressurised. I use my breaks for drawing in my sketchbook, which really relaxes me. It also means I can be creative when using a flipchart! One day, I was sitting sketching during my break and one of my delegates saw me and was impressed by my drawings. She told me about the Staff Art Club and Bedside Art and suggested I join. I went along and eventually ran a couple of drawing sessions for patients and staff on the ward. We would visit patients on the ward, and they had the option to draw along with me or watch me drawing whilst describing the process. The patients made it very easy for me, as I was very nervous at first. 

In 2018 I was shortlisted for The Evening Standard Hiscox Art Prize; the subject was Progress. My piece described the frustration I felt when I was younger, like I would never progress. It felt like trying to get up from the ground without bending my legs. I didn't win, but I was in the top ten out of over 1000 entrants, and we had our entries displayed in The National Gallery. 

Boushra at the Evening Standard Hiscox Art Prize

When Covid-19 arrived on our doorstep I was working at St George’s Hospital in Tooting. As the country locked down, I was being asked to run crash courses in computer systems to staff returning to the NHS and those being redeployed. My commute from home to St George’s was quite frankly scary, going from packed commuter trains to being the only one on the platform. I spent a lot of time on these journeys drawing and taking pictures of what became my weird world. It prompted me to combine my drawings and photos into a book (unpublished) titled My Lonely Commute. 

Boushra "My Lonely Commute"

Drawing has always been my passion; it gives me total relaxation, which enables me to function well in both my working and social life. I am always looking for the next subject to draw!