Our Roots, by Tayo Fatunla
'Our Roots'.

Tayo Fatunla is a British-born Nigerian comic artist, editorial cartoonist, writer and illustrator. He is best-known for his largely educational comic and cartoon features dealing with African history and society, such as 'Our Roots' (1989), 'Hooked' (2015) and 'Spirit of Lagos' (2015).

Born in 1961 in Wimbledon, England, Tayo was educated in Nigeria. His first cartoon appeared in the Nigerian children's magazine Apollo, when he was seventeen years old. As a teenager, he continued to work for well-known Nigerian newspapers and magazines such as Punch, Concord, Guardian and The Daily Times. In the early 1980s, he was the first African graduate of the prestigious Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in New Jersey. Tayo additionally worked as a designer and caricaturist, and also had a page with 'Battle Humor' published in issue #389 of the DC Comics title 'Sgt. Rock' (1984).

'Bad Roads in Nigeria'.

Tayo has drawn cartoons for the New York Times and the BBC's Focus on Africa magazine. Other publications which featured his drawings are British magazines like West Africa, New African, The Voice, Thamesmead Times and African Business, as well as the Courrier International in Paris. His cartoons also appeared in book collections as 'Cartooning Aids' (1992), 'Od'd On O.J.' (1995), 'Human Rights' and 'Ecotoons' (1996). In 2001, he launched a book compilation of his own editorial cartoons titled 'Tayo - Thro' The Years' at the British Cartoon Centre, London.


Educational features
In 1989, Fatunla's illustrated educational feature on black history, called 'Our Roots', was serialized on a weekly basis in The Voice, Britain's leading black newspaper. The feature about the accomplishments of black people all around the world in all time periods was later also syndicated to the Chicago Defender and The Sacramento Observer. It was collected in book format in 1991. Tayo's 'Our Roots' illustrations are used for educational purposes in school books, newsletters, journals and for presentations. He illustrated the award-winning digital comic for the BBC World service titled 'Hooked' (2015), written by Benjamin Dix and based on the stories of drug addicts in Guinea Bissau.

Around the same time, Tayo created an educational comic series for a Nigerian audience about the important historical aspects of the largest Nigerian city Lagos, under the title 'Spirit of Lagos'. Tayo has also made the African Kingdom illustrations for The British Museum. He has produced several Christian cartoons, collected in his 'Gospel Humor' book in 2016.

Cartoon by Tayo Fatunla.

Tayo has held exhibitions of his cartoons and cartoon workshops in countries like the UK, Nigeria, South Korea, Cameroon, Finland, France, Ethiopia, Spain, the USA, Egypt, Israel, Algeria, Belgium, Italy and Ireland. His cartoons are on permanent display at the International Museum of Cartoon Art (IMCA), Boca Raton, Florida. Tayo was awarded Crayon de Porcelaine for his contributions to press cartoons internationally at the Salon International Dessin de Presse & Humour in St-Just-le-Martel, France. In May 2018 Tayo was awarded with the ECBACC Pioneer Lifetime Achievement award (PLA) for 'Our Roots'.

Legacy and influence
Tayo Fatunla was a strong graphic influence on Gado

Mad Cow cartoon, by Tayo Fatunla
Cartoon by Tayo about Boko Haram. 


Series and books by Tayo Fatunla you can order today:


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