Our Roots, by Tayo Fatunla

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 while 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 his 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), which was written by Benjamin Dix and based on the stories of drug addicts in Guinea Bissau. Around the same time Tayo created an educational comics series for a Nigerian audience about the important historical aspects of the largest Nigerian city Lagos, under the title 'Spirit of Lagos'. Tayo has furthermore produced the African Kingdom illustrations for The British Museum. He has produced several Christian cartoons, which were collected in his 'Gospel Humor' book in 2016.

Exhibitions and awards
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, and in May 2018 Tayo was awarded with the ECBACC Pioneer Lifetime Achievement award (PLA) for 'Our Roots'.

Mad Cow cartoon, by Tayo Fatunla


Series and books by Tayo Fatunla in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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