Makira Burns, a political science student from Orlando, is an active person on Florida A&M University’s campus. She is also an artist and business owner.
As a student at FAMU, Burns’ involvement includes being a part of the Student Senate and Relay for Life. In the past year, she was also involved in FAMU cheerleading and the gospel choir. Recently, she became a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity.
Burns has always had a passion for the arts in all forms and enjoyed painting. She started a business out of it after she decided to revisit this old hobby during the pandemic. She describes her business, KiraB.Paints, as a representation of Blackness.
“KiraB.Paints is a Black-owned business that illustrates Black art through canvas paintings. [My] pieces represent Black love, Black power and Black beauty,” Burns said.
Although painting was an old hobby for Burns, she finds purpose in her paintings beyond sheer enjoyment for herself. She feels that her business has significance in today’s society.
“I created KiraB.Paints to positively impact the world by creating a platform that depicts Black art. There is a substantial absence of Black representation in art,” Burns said. “The history of Black art in America can be traced back to the slave trade, but it’s only recently that Black art and artists as a whole have begun to enter mainstream society.”
Within a few months of starting her business, Burns has already sold more than 50 paintings. She has pleased many of her customers with paintings that they are satisfied with, and many of her customers would recommend her to someone else.
Taylor Ford is one of those customers. Ford asked Burns to recreate an image she had seen of a Black woman praying. Ford sent her an inspiration photo and was pleased with the result.
“I felt like it turned out better than the inspiration photo. I would recommend her to someone else because the painting was reasonably priced and beautiful,” said Ford.
Nyla Sams, who also purchased artwork from Burns, was pleased with her painting. She also has an appreciation for Burns’ work in general.
“I love Kira’s artwork. It really fits into the Black, powerful woman aesthetic. There is a classy sophistication with all of the paintings. I would absolutely recommend a KiraB painting,” Sams said.
Earlier this semester, Burns took an opportunity to try something different with her business. Burns was the guest artist for the “Painting with a Strike” event hosted by Brooke Hawkins, who was then a candidate for Miss Freshman Attendant at FAMU. This event, where they painted a Rattler head, was part of Hawkins’ successful campaign for the position.
“Putting on ‘Painting with a Strike’ provided an opportunity for students to have a fun, interactive experience despite everything being virtual. This event was a success, and we hope to do something like that again. It also brought great exposure to my business,” Burns said.
For those interested in Burns’ artwork or want to book her for events, her business page can be found on Instagram @kirab.paints.