Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Longevity of Tayo Fatunla’s Illustrated OUR ROOTS

Our Roots

*TAYO Fatunla‘s award-winning OUR ROOTS, the black history illustrated feature, is in its 40th year, and has documented Black history since the concept at art school, the Kubert School in Dover New Jersey.

In 2008, OUR ROOTS was first featured on EURweb the year Mr Lee Bailey showed interest in featuring the series, and in his own words, he said…”Wow! You do good work.”

With the encouragement of EURweb, OUR ROOTS which first was published in black and white, has now reached many by informing, educating, and inspiring art enthusiasts to draw.

February is Black History Month in the U.S. and OUR ROOTS will be spotlighting more black heroes and heroines as well as other black history aspects on EURweb.

When Aaron McGruder’s cartoon BOONDOCKs stopped running on EURweb which I followed religiously, OUR ROOTS then filled the gap following my proposal.

Many have benefited from the style and technique of OUR ROOTS which was created on my drawing table in my classroom at school named African Sketchbook. It is popular and appreciated for its educational visual format. Comic legend Joe Kubert helped work on this creation at school and the creator of the Joker, Jerry Robinson was first to syndicate OUR ROOTS in the US through his syndicate, Cartoonists and Writers Syndicate. He recognized the potential it had and still has to educate, inform, and entertain. I became the first African and Nigerian cartoonist to have my work syndicated regularly in the U.S. The rest they say is history. No pun intended.

I was in Nigeria when I proposed African Sketchbook to the Voice newspaper in London. Arriving in London, I got an invitation to meet with the editor of the paper then and where it was changed to OUR ROOTS for the first feature to cover and document Black history globally. The works I have done for the BBC, The British Museum, the Smithsonian – National Museum of African Art, and many others, have been on the back of OUR ROOTS. OUR ROOTS has featured prominent Black people globally, to show black men and women who have played important roles and achievements in Black history. Many US publications have featured OUR ROOTS including the US-based Christian Science Monitor magazine and the New York Amsterdam news. And has featured in other publications and on Social media platforms.

I saw the need for African Americans to know more about Black history globally. The concept has worked. Last year, I was able to use the same OUR ROOTS format to mark the 75 Years of Windrush as a Windrush Project as an educational tool through cartoon workshop sessions in the United Kingdom, where Black History Month is marked every year in October

TAYO Fatunla (2024)
TAYO Fatunla (2024)

TAYO Fatunla whose work has been featured on MSN.com via EURweb.com is an award-winning British-Nigerian Comic Artist, Editorial Cartoonist, Writer, and Illustrator and is an artist of the 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 has held a virtual OUR ROOTS cartoon workshop for SMITHSONIAN- National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C. His Fela Kuti image is prominently featured in Burna Boy’s mega-Afrobeat hit song “Ye”. https://www.instagram.com/tfatunla123

MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: OUR ROOTS – Spotlight on Africa’s Superstar Football Player Missing at the World Cup

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