Monday, May 23, 2022

WSCIJ Awards Two Nigerian Cartoonists – Josy Ajiboye and Victor Asowata

Josy Ajiboye receiving his Lifetime award at the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism
Josy Ajiboye receiving his Lifetime award at the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (Photo via TAYO Fatunla)

*As a fan of the cartoon column, Josy Ajiboye on Sunday, which was on the back page of Nigeria’s once-popular national newspaper, Daily Times, I first met Josy Ajiboye when the Daily Times Group of Newspapers stable was still on Lagos Island at Kakawa, where I freelanced for LAGOS WEEKEND a weekly publication by same Daily Times group.

Born in 1945, Josy Ajiboye also published his Romance of Life cartoons in the LAGOS WEEKEND. I would travel to Daily Times for inspiration in search of other cartoonists like dele jegede creator of Kole the Menace cartoon strips in the Sunday Times and Moses Osawe who created Pa Johnson cartoon character for Evening Times and of course David Lasekan who drew Benbella cartoon strips for Evening Times as well. It was the Daily Times that printed his FUNTIMES editions. Daily Times at its peak was one of the most successful and must-reads, in Africa together with other of its publications including HEADLINES. Later, it would move its operations to Agidingbi on Lagos mainland and Josy Ajiboye relocated his cartoon studio with it.

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Josy Ajiboye on Sunday Cartoons
Josy Ajiboye on Sunday Cartoons

When it comes to the Cartoon world in Nigeria, Pa Josy as he is now fondly called, is an elder statesman and highly respected for his accomplishments as a cartoonist and as an artist. His cartoons kept the Nigerian government on its toes during the military era and he drew topical cartoons on current affairs, locally and internationally. His skill as a painter and portrait artist is well known, documented and legendary. Pa Josy who was of great encouragement to me as a teenage cartoonist still looks smart and handsome. The first time I saw him, I vividly remember that I was star-struck watching him from a distance on the premises of Daily Times.

We would later meet, not on the same day as a form of introduction to each other. He is an alumnus of the iconic institution, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. When I had my OUR ROOTS serialised in the Sunday Times, I thought to myself then, that I had succeeded to have the illustrated feature in the same paper as Josy Ajiboye on Sunday cartoons. I am pleased that we are celebrating Nigerian cartooning legends blessed with long life home and abroad.

Congratulations to Josy Ajiboye as he recently received a Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence at the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) on the 9th of December in Lagos. The centre is named after Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature, Wole Soyinka.

Victor Asowata - Award Winner
Victor Asowata – Award Winner (photo via TAYO Fatunla)

As a painter, collage and digital artist, a cartoonist and illustrator, I am yet to meet Victor Asowata except on Zoom events arranged by the Cartoonists Association of Nigeria CARTAN of which I am a member but l am impressed by his body of works with his fabulous drawings and caricatures.

Asowata, Cartoon Editor with The Will newspaper, won the cartoon category of the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporters (WSAIR). And not the first time he has won an award. Such a breath of fresh air his cartoons and caricatures are, enhancing pages of The Will newspaper as his drawings have taken on a unique style and life of their own.

Victor Asowata's images on THE WILL newspaper covers
Victor Asowata’s images on THE WILL newspaper covers (Photo via TAYO Fatunla)

Dora Akinluyi by Victor Asowata
Dora Akinluyi by Victor Asowata (via TAYO Fatunla)

Asowata is also conscious of human anatomy when drawing. No wonder he has been given a well-deserved WSCIJ award the same day as Josy Ajiboye. Two distant generations were brought together by the awards night for their contributions to Nigerian cartoons. It was a big honour for the President of the Cartoonists Association of Nigeria, Mike Asukwo, a famous Nigerian cartoonist himself to have been present at the 16th Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting presentation event to support Pa Josy Ajiboye and Victor Asowata and cheer them on.

TAYO Fatunla
TAYO Fatunla

TAYO Fatunla is an award-winning Nigerian Comic Artist, Editorial Cartoonist, Writer and Illustrator is an artist of African diaspora. He is a graduate of the prestigious Kubert School, in New Jersey, US. and recipient of the 2018 ECBACC Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award for his illustrated OUR ROOTS creation and series – Famous people in Black History – He participated at UNESCO’s Cartooning In Africa forum held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the Cartooning Global Forum in Paris, France and took part in the Afropolitan Comics virtual comics exhibition arranged by the French Institute in South Africa coinciding with its annual National Arts Festival. His image of Fela Kuti was used as a backdrop in the Burna Boy’s YouTube channel the mega-Afrobeat hit song “Ye”. [email protected]




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