Toto is not your typical small child. He is strong willed, strong arms, big ears and a broad forehead. Toto stands at only 38 inches tall, but is much older than his real age. Because he cannot talk, Toto is primarily a survivalist in the wild. It is because of this reason that his mother and father abandoned him when they were both killed by a jungle hunter.
Toto lived in the bush with his mother for most of his early life. At such young ages he was looked after by his father and brother. When Toto was only four years old, his father took him to Paris where Toto met Andres Segovia, the painter who would become his lifelong idol. Andres became a very important part of Toto’s life and inspired him to become what he called a “masochist”. In turn Andres inspired Toto to paint which is what led to his career as a renowned artist.
When Toto was thirteen years old, he was captured by hunters and taken to a sugar cane plantation near Nairobi, Kenya. Here his abusive and cruel master let Toto live like any other slave, where he was used to fetch water and to clean floors and porches. The hard labor at the plantation, the lack of clothing and food, made Toto desperate enough to try and kill himself. When this failed, the master locked Toto up in a room, cut his only hair and threw acid on his face.
When Toto’s father died in a tragic auto accident, Toto took to his father’s funeral as if he were a dead boy. When his father’s body was cremated, it was discovered that the ashes had been scattered all over Nairobi. This prompted Toto to go and find his true love and marry Kasumi who became his wife. Kasumi was equally disappointed when Toto refused to give up his love for her.
Toto’s career as an artist did not take off until World War II. He was severely injured in the war and had to leave his family. He took refuge in Nairobi with his brother Emile, who took him in and became his playmate and later his assistant artist. Eventually Toto was painting for the government and producing fine art pieces. In 1950, he received a commission from King Anwar and became a member of the royalty.
Toto began to paint the traditional charcoal techniques, which included a technique where he mixed charcoal and wax. After this he perfected his “shakuhan” style painting which involved bold stripes of black and white against a dark background. In the 1960’s Toto changed his style to a more fluid and sensual approach. Today his work still focuses on these bold black and white stripes and is considered to be a masterpiece.