UCU alumnus puts smiles on faces through interior art

By Emmanuel Kizaale
Kareem Nasasira’s ability to beautifully work with granite, paint, wood, marble and board is striking. He does not just throw his energy willy-nilly. The level of concentration he puts in the art he is developing is usually seen in the quality of work he puts out. 

Perhaps, that explains his choice to concentrate on interior art. Despite his finesse in many fields, gypsum walls and ceilings seem to be his calling. And he creates them with so much ease, giving out exquisite results.

The 24-year-old says he always cultivates a relationship with whatever art he is engaging with. “I have loved art since I was a child. Even when I am on a break, I just love to sit down and draw sketches of things, just anything,” he says.

The idea of venturing into interior design has been in Nasasira’s mind since secondary school at Namirembe Hillside High School in Kampala. His gratification comes from the smiles on people’s faces. 

Little wonder that in 2017, he chose to pursue the Bachelor of Industrial and Fine Art at Uganda Christian University (UCU). He felt it was the only way to give his God-given talent a professional training.

A room designed by Nasasira's interior design company, Nas Interiors
A room designed by Nasasira’s interior design company, Nas Interiors

“When I was still at UCU, we used to go to other universities to attend exhibitions, and I discovered that the kind of art that was being taught in many universities was limited in scope,” Nasasira says. “UCU gives you a variety and it is up to you to choose where your passion lies.” 

According to Nasasira, UCU offered choices in ceramics, sculpture, pottery, fabric and several others. “So, the options gave me an avenue to explore and understand where my strength was,” he says. 

Now that he had chosen interior design, how would he launch himself into the self-employment world without any startup capital? Nasasira was battling with finding answers to that question. It kept him awake at night. 

One particular sleepless night in his second year of studies, he determined to save some of his money he had to live as a student. Since he now had limited time, as well as money to save, Nasasira made a drastic decision to spend only 20% of the pocket money he was given. The rest went into the penny bank.

Kareem Nasasira on duty at a client's residence
Kareem Nasasira on duty at a client’s residence

When he completed his course, Nasasira had his work cut out. He had to buy the essential equipment he needed for the kind of art work he felt he was industrially ready for. That is how Nas Interiors company, the brainchild of Nasasira was born.

The company employs four other youth who work as electrician, painter, carpenter and fixer. He, however, dreams of employing more, when his business portfolio grows.

Nasasira was never afraid to jump in at the deep end as he launched his business. It was around the time when the whole world was shutting down to limit the devastating effects of the Covid-19. 

And businesses were folding as a result of the lockdowns.

But he is grateful to the friends he made as a student. It is through their referrals that he has been able to keep in business. 

“You come to UCU as strangers at the beginning of the course but, at the end, you leave as a family,” he said, as he enumerated the many people who have helped to advertise for him his business.