A comic illustration of former USA president Barack Obama’s life, by UK-based Nigerian artist Tayo Fatunla, has been featured in the New York Amsterdam News, to mark the Black History month in the USA.
Titled: Eight years of Black History month in the White House, Tayo’s work is composed of snippets of information pertaining to Obama.
It traces Obama’s journey from a mixed race parentage, through a happy childhood with a dotting grandmother, to his love for basketball, culminating with his extraordinary rise to the highest office in USA.
In an exclusive interview with Team Buntu Africa, Tayo said his love for Obama had inspired him to produce a tribute cartoon.
“Obama made his exit from the White House on the 20th of January, before Black History month celebrations this month in the USA,” Tayo said. “As his time to leave office drew near, I felt compelled to do something to mark his achievements.
“I remembered the 106 year old woman who had danced her way into the White House to meet president Obama and first Lady Michelle Obama.” Tayo continued. “How sweet that moment must have been for the couple! That old lady also danced her way into the hearts of people who had gathered at the White House that day.”
Tayo, who is a graduate of the prestigious Art school, the Kubert School Dover, New Jersey has held exhibitions and cartoon workshops in the U.K. Nigeria, Cameroon, Finland, France, Ethiopia, USA, Egypt, Algeria, Ethiopia, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Cameroon and South Korea.
He has also published his cartoons internationally in books, magazines and web sites including the online BBC World Service.
But he says having his comic strip about Obama featured in the New York Amsterdam News, the oldest Black newspaper in the USA, is the highest point of his achievements.
“The history of the New York Amsterdam News, from a black perspective, is almost as inspiring as Obama’s rise to become president of America,” Tayo said. “So connecting the two together through my work is an unbelievable privilege. It is like a dream come true.”
The New York Amsterdam News, which offers the “new black view” within local, national and international news for the Black community, was founded on December 4, 1909, by James H. Anderson. He invested $10 in the business to put out the first issue of the Amsterdam News, which comprised of six sheets of paper put together a dressmaker’s table.
Today the publication is one of New York’s largest and most influential black-owned-and-operated business institutions, and one of the nation’s most prominent ethnic publications.