Sarra was born in Coventry, to her father, an engineer and musician; and her mother who was a writer. She grew up on the outskirts of a small hosiery town where she spent her formative years playing in wild habitats, blackberry fields, cow ponds and brooks, near where she lived. Together with other local children; Sarra had free access to the natural world.
In the early 1980’s, Sarra’s father brought home the families first computer. Together with her brother, Sarra spent many days producing simple motion graphics in BASIC, on the ZX Spectrum Sinclair. In code copied from the pages of Spectrum magazine; she avidly watched as a border flashed and a ball bounced across the TV screen. She also became interested in adventure games such as the Hobbit, at this time. Borrowing Tolkien’s book from the local library; she drew maps and compiled lists of action words so as to solve this epic adventure…but that’s another story.
Sarra’s brother went on to work with computers in the car industry and became involved in the local Demoscene. Sarra, in contrast went back outside to play in nature, grow trees and make things. Later she used her knowledge gained from writing code as a 10 year old to set up rudimentary computer systems in a surveyors office while she produced sculpture and portraits to commission.
Sarra returned to Coventry University later in life where she initially chose to study Fine Art and Illustration. However, she soon discovered Animation as her primary art form. Her early influences were artists such as William Kentridge, Theo Yansen and Len Lye, as well as eastern european animators such as Jan Svankmajer, Yuri Norstein and Lotte Reiniger.
In these early years, Sarra trained in drawn Illustration, CGI Animation and produced puppets, props and sets for the stop-motion animation industry. Many of these projects went on to be nationally recognised recieving awards which include D&AD New Blood, Student Award for Film Craft Animation and The Campaign for Drawing, Big Draw NADFAS Award for teaching animation to secondary school children.
Sarra went on to produce concept models, model making and animation with some exceptionally talented directors, animators and model makers in the Animation industry one of which was nominated for Annecy and received award British Animation Peoples Choice Award and Golden Panda.
Sarra continued to experiment in her personal work which led to an interest in interactions embedded in contemporary 3D Animation production processes. She went on to spend many years in Academia. She located her research project in the triangulation between humans technology and ecology. It was here that she conducted multi-sensory, multi-dimensional experiments in natural, virtual and studio environments.
She spent many years teaching and delivering research papers both nationally and internationally at respected academic institutions which included Birmingham City University, Coventry University, Loughborough University, Staffordshire University and the Royal College of Art as well as the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA. She has also designed and developed course content, delivered taught sessions, personal tutorials and online courses to students learning in Higher Education.
Sarra currently produces artist-Animation, Kinetic Sculpture and Kinetic Projection screens, drawing, prints, painting, photography and film in her experimental interdisciplinary arts practice. Her work has been screened in the Midlands and London as well as, Los Angeles, USA, and Hangzou, China.
Today, Sarra conducts practice-based experiments at the intersection between expanded animation and immersive media.
She explores game engine and CGI tools, craft processes, physical materials and e-textiles to examine user interactive behaviour, immersion and creative Media ‘making’, in the studio, natural and virtual environments.
Sarra’s work asks,
What does it mean to be human in a technologically pervasive, ecologically uncertain world ?