The art of decorative plaster making was first brought to Kenya by Arabian Peninsula craftsmen several hundred years ago and became a characteristic feature of prominent buildings, particularly along the coast.
Highly skilled workers created entire walls of plaster niches, designed to hold ornamental porcelains and other treasured household objects. The art is still practiced by artisans particularly in Lamu and Mombasa.
Ahmed Yusuf Suleiman is a Swahili native of Lamu. He discovered his artistic ability in drawing and design at a young age and decided to forego secondary school to become an artist. He apprenticed with a famous carver, Salim Hilu, to learn masonry and the art of plaster carving and design. Ahmed has mastered the techniques that go into masonry and carving and is now one of the most sought-after plasterwork or relief designers and carvers in East Africa.