Barly Baruti is a Congolese comics author artist, and probably the best-known African comic artist in Europe. He was born into a family of painters as Baruti Kandolo Lilela in Kisangani. He was working at the graphics departments of French cultural centres in Kisingani and Kinshasa, when he made 'Le Temps d'Agir' in 1982. This first comic book in commission, dealing with environmental issues, was followed by other similar works, like 'Le Village des Ventrus' and 'Aube Nouvelle à Mobo'. During the same period, he was invited by Michel Pierre, literary director of the French publisher Casterman, for an apprenticeship in Angoulême.
In 1985 he started working for Segudo, a Parisian publisher that specialized in comics for the French regions of Africa. Baruti drew the story 'Le Bolide' from a script by Serge Saint-Michel. He also worked at Studio Hergé for several months in 1987, and subsequently published the humorous comics 'La Voiture c'est l'Avonture' and 'Papa Wemba : Viva la musica!' with Afrique Édition. He also participated in the production of the film 'La Vie est Belle' by Ngangura Mweze and Benoit Lamy. He furthermore published political caricatures for TV and newspapers, and did contributions to the Segudo children's magazines Kouakou and Calao.
Baruti was on the vanguard of promoting comic art in general and that of young Congolese talent in particular. He was co-founder of the A.C.R.I.A. (Atelier de Création Recherche Initiation à l'Art) in Kinshasa, an association of young authors to create and promote Zaïrese comics. He became editor-in-chief of the group's comics magazine Afro-BD in 1990, and was appointed President of the first African festival for comics and youth literature, held in Kinshasa in 1991. He continued to produce such comics as 'L'Héritier' and 'Le Retour'. His style had matured by the time he published 'Objectif Terre!' in 1994, and ecological plea in commission of the Cultural Centrein Kinshasa.
Baruti, who had been living in Belgium since 1992, also started publishing his work in French-Belgian reviews like Le Soir, Tam Tam, Zaïre Magazine, Autrement, Belgian Economic Journal and Nyota Ya Afrika. He changed his semi-realistic Clear Line style for a more realistic one, when he started working with scriptwriter Frank Giroud on the comics trilogy 'Éva K' (Soleil, 1995-1998) and the thriller series 'Mandrill' (Glénat, 1998-2007).
He has been working with Alain Brezault on a sci-fi comics series set in Africa and the Orient, called 'La Monde selon Agbo'. He made the drawings for 'Madame Livingstone', a graphic novel set in Central-Africa during World War I. It was written by Christophe Cassiau-Haurie and published by Glénat in 2014. Barly Baruti currently lives in Kinshasa again.