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Legendary cartoonist Hirst takes final bow

Legendary Cartoonist Terry Hirst

Legendary Kenyan cartoon artist Terry Hirst is dead. Hirst was known as one of the pioneers of the cartoon industry in Kenya for using satirical humour in his cartoons.

His earliest works was the creation of the character ‘Joe’ for a magazine of the same title that unveiled him as a force to reckon with in the arts industry.

Hirst moved to Kenya in 1965 to start a career as a teacher at the Kenya High School, Nairobi and his undying love for cartoons made his transition to the industry rather easy. He is credited with designing a new art room at the school, as well as developing a new model of creative education in art. At the same time, he was worked as a part-time lecturer at the University of Nairobi, where he spearheaded introduction of a three-year Bachelor of Education Art course from the normal five years.

He later moved from teaching secondary schools to working at the university full time, and established the Fine Art Department at the then Kenyatta University College. Even though university politics did not agree on his mode of teaching, Hirst remained true to his use of satirical humour, making him a favourite among many of his students. Hirst is known to have influenced both the first, second and third generation of Kenyan cartoonists.

Kenny Kaburu aka Kennytoonz of The Standard Group cites his guidance as unmatched. “His work inspired me to become a cartoonist and his style is still relate-able in today’s generation,” Mr Kaburu said. Samuel Muigai aka Igah, a cartoonist with the Daily Nation, recalls his experience working with Hirst.

“I worked with him for two years and the experience was unimaginable,” said Mr Igah. Hirst, father to Sheba Hirst - wife of celebrated Kenyan musician Eric Wainaina, has died at 82 with the circumstances surrounding his death not yet clear.

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