Raza Mohammed

Profile: Revered Tanzanian artist Raza Mohammed

Raza Mohammed is a big name in Tanzania’s arts industry. He is among the 14 artists currently exhibiting at the Village Market, Nairobi, Kenya.  Born in August 1946, just as the world war was coming to an end, young Raza would move to Kenya where he studied at Khamis Secondary School.

As an artist, Raza begun long before he joined school and was inspired a lot by his teachers, which made him choose art to the dismay of his father. Despite his burning desire in arts, Raza would return home in Tanzania and join the family sugar business in Arusha – a short tribute to the family before he left for Dar Es Salaam.

In Dar, his art burning like the Olympic flame, Raza would work for the United States Information Service as a graphic designer. From here Raza would later design covers of school English text books for the Tanzania Institute of Education.

As a designer, he was among the artists whose designs were selected for the Tanzania Postal Corporation for stamps. Other artists were John Batista Da Silva and Paul Denko. He would also design Medals for the soldiers who defeated Iddi Amin Troops at Kagera war in 1979. It is such a steady rise that earned him a certificate of service, which together with his photo and some of the medals make permanent residence in Arusha Declaration Museum in Arusha.

In visual arts, Raza has exhibited in Kenya, UK, USA, Denmark, Germany,France and Nigeria. He is the first African artist to exhibit at Charlton House in Greenwhich Village in London, in 2011.

Raza, as a pioneering Tanzanian artist has hard many firsts for instance some of his art permanently resides at the National Museum and House of Culture in Dar es Salaam. He is also the founder of Nyumba ya Sanaa Arts and Crafts Centre in 1972.

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