Wahiu, aka My Fingers Just – Visual Artist
Wahiu is one of the most confident people I met back when we were in theatre business. His story has however humbles me. Four suicide attempts later, he has learnt to not just be comfortable, but bold, audacious and unapologetic. He is a force to reckon with in visual art and I am so happy you get to met him.
As a Kenyan creative, how would you describe your art?
One it is visual, obviously. Also, I think it’s very Avant Gard and controversial, its definitely a neck turner, something that will make you like twice cause my fingers once again just ….
What inspired the Instagram name ‘My Fingers Just’?
Namhula my day one , she was with me one Sunday morning just before our teens service and I was just very fresh on the Instagram block and I wanted a stand out name. As we stood in thought, she was like “eishh your fingers move so fast on the keyboard” (your boy was busy replying to messages on wozaaaap)
And boom I was like MY FINGERS JUST , and here we are years latter still my fingers are just moving fast
You model, style, direct, come up with props out of this world and hold a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum and Geoscience. How do you manage all this?
Honestly it’s the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
And the love of God (mtamaliza the rest)
But for me art is my escape , its where I can be myself like 100% , and it was my mechanism to cope up with how demanding my course was. My mum was like “unaenda shoot and Una exam kesho”. Me here I am just laughing saying “just wait and see the results” . Just like I showed up and out for my exams, the same applied to my art.
I believe in when it is time for school I give it my best and when it’s time to do the creative shenanigans I give it my all. To me both held weight and I am that person who doesn’t like producing shit work, excuse my leeeeengweeej. And I proved you can do art and still manage the science course, we graduated as two people in the end.
Growing up in the Kenyan society, arts were for the most part not sold as an ideal career path. How do you think we should change this for the next generation?
I feel our generation is a very visual people , like they are attracted to things and relate to stuff they can see and also arts and all. That being said the more liberal parents get, the more we see kids pursuing art majors and other creative fields. The level of open mindedness plays a big role in how creatives will continue to thrive and be appreciated. As we keep sharing and attending creative events then the awareness will keep growing , so don’t think sharing posts is work, you are throwing the word out there.
Personally I don’t think I know of a pal doing this professionally and has regret taking that decision. It pays and if you earn doing what you love, what more validation do you need.
Looking at all you’ve achieved what would you tell your 18-year-old self getting into adulting?
This is a heavy question for me , I say this as I kind of get emotional.
I would say “Wahiu, love yourself. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be yourself. Don’t take away your life the four times you tried. There are people who will not get you, but screw them and receive the love from those genuine angels in your life.
Also, don’t be afraid to express yourself in your art, you waited too long to let your art and you shine cause you felt like you weren’t something and that no one valued you. Confidence to you king and let them have it.”
How did you get into visual arts?
It started off as me wanting a bomb ass photo for the gram, something different than the selfies I posted. I know I loved the camera, so I wanted to explore the fantasy of being a muse and here we are celebrating my art years later. After the first shoot I had with Karanja, I just wanted more and more and more and clearly, the camera loves me *humility exits chat*
With the country on its second lockdown and battling the third wave of Covid-19, performing arts have taken a hit due to the close of theatres. What is your view on unlocking the country?
I lack words honestly it threw me off mentally, yet another birthday in lockdown, like what even. Away from that our presidency has failed its citizens and in my view, this lockdown was staged so as to get more loans to feed the pockets of the untouchables as they think they are, I am not a politician but some things you don’t need to be taken to school to figure their SHENANIGANS. Yes, they think they have our best interests but I don’t think they really are doing it for us the common mwananchi.
They need to have strategic measures to improve and boost the economy. And find ways where guys can still have a way to get an extra buck safely. They need to sit and look beyond their backyards and see that many people have taken a hit with this new lockdown.
Do you think art needs to be understood by everyone?
Art speaks to those who want to listen, see, hear and learn from the art in whatever form, simple as that. You can’t be pleasing all, that’s just not even now things work.
Some call you a ‘controversial male model’ what is your response to this?
I am controversial with a capital C and ending with a full stop and that’s me. People just need to understand the context of what I mean by controversial, I am not like talking Edgar Obare tea nope, I just shake things up in the male model industry, which have such odd stereotypes that guys need to be like this and this body type, I am there to show you that no you can have someone like me on a magazine cover also, excuse you. I am willing to go where most think it’s not what male models should do.
Who do you think is the greatest visual artist of all times?
Wow, that’s a tough one but God is. I mean look at the earth and the beauty we have so He wins, He knew what He was doing all this time and continues to just show beauty through even me. And these gifts and beauty comes from Him.
Where would you say your confidence to be exceptionally bold comes from?
I think it comes from the awakening I got after my last failed suicide attempted and the power and acceptance I got from people who held me dear and close. Also, it comes from my mum who is such a queen to me, that’s where my confidence started from in dressing up, I was not your buff sijui guy and all but when I dress hmmmm, what will you tell me, and that confidence just kept growing as I grew to love and accept me as me. And someone said “the clothes maketh the man” it was not just words being thrown around, really look at that.
What does the future look like from where you stand?
The future will just get better. I wanna be on the field discovering minerals somewhere in maybe Canada and be a brand ambassador for an elite eyewear brand, get recognized by the greats in the visual industry, still be busting moves on the dancefloor, keep drawing and maybe look into going back to sing and all.
I want to expand my creative projects to be bigger bolder and better.
And may the fingers continue to just.
Connect with Wahiu on his Instagram Page below:
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