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Meet the illustrator behind Wildscreen Festival Nairobi’s logo – Wanjira Kinyua

1. Introduce yourself!

I am Wanjira Kinyua, an illustrator based in Nairobi, Kenya.

2. What inspires you?

My work is primarily inspired by the environment around me, with a recent focus on nature subjects, particularly insects, which have captured my interest. I also draw inspiration from other artists’ work, which fuels my creativity. Improving my artistic abilities is a constant motivation for me.

3. How did you get to where you are today?

I specialised in Graphics Design during my time at university. However, my passion for illustration began to grow during my final years, where I started exploring vector illustrations. After graduating, I worked as a designer but made the decision to pursue illustration full-time two years ago.

4. What brought you to this project?

I was immediately drawn to the project after reading the brief. As someone who has been inspired by nature for the past year, being able to create artwork that celebrates the wildlife found on the continent was a fantastic opportunity to work on subjects I am deeply passionate about. The Wildscreen Festival Nairobi holds significance as it will actively support and mentor emerging natural world storytellers and conservationists, enabling them to share their own narratives. Providing the necessary tools and guidance, I think the festival will empower these individuals to recognize the possibility of expressing their stories, writing them, and ultimately sharing them with the world.

5. What’s your favourite story from nature?

One of my favourite nature stories took place last year when I had the chance to go on my first game drive. It was a truly captivating experience being in the open, observing hyenas lounging in mud pools and resembling cuddly little bears. Watching a herd of elephants pass by, with the little ones playfully frolicking, left a lasting impression. Initially, I couldn’t fully comprehend the appeal of such an excursion, but after experiencing it firsthand, I gained a deeper appreciation for the natural world we have access to.

6. What’s a fun fact about you?

I have become adept at identifying at least 10 neighbourhood birds solely by their calls. Speckled Mousebirds, in particular, have been causing some mischief by terrorising my parents’ papaya trees and indulging in partially ripe fruit.