Friday Spill: The First Ever Black New Yorker Cartoonists Exhibit
July 23, 2021
Last Friday’s opening of “Cartooning While Black” with work by the artists Victor Varnado, Akeem Roberts, Yasin Osman, and Jerald Lewis II, was an historic occasion. The show is the very first exhibit by Black New Yorker cartoonists.
The Spill asked Mr. Varnado to speak on this moment, and here’s what he had to say:
“I’m proud of the Cartooning While Black exhibition but I have to admit that in this instance I am an accidental pioneer. I didn’t set out to make the first all-Black New Yorker cartoonist gallery exhibit in history. I initially wanted to create an event to promote my book and theorized that filling out the ranks of the show would be a good idea since my fame is marginal at best. Since The Anti-Racism Activity Book was about (you guessed it) racism, I thought asking other Black cartoonists would be a good idea. As I was working on the press release it dawned on me what I had done. I was both happy something momentous had been created and saddened such an occurrence was unusual.
I’d like to say thank you to the other artists in the show. Jerald, Yasin, and Akeem, you rock. Also a big congratulations on your careers so far. Not to be forgotten, Liz Montague whom I reached out to for this exhibit, and Sarah Akinterinwa whom I was not familiar with at the time: I think you are both swell and I hope to work with you in the future. To what I hope are countless other Black cartoonists working towards publication or have already been given the “okay” and are waiting patiently (giggle) on a print date, I applaud you. You are forging through an industry that perhaps did not want you in the past and currently is still a little confused as to what you are even doing here. Good luck.”
Above right: New Yorker cartoonist Akeem Roberts
Above: New Yorker cartoonist Victor Varnado
Below: a sampling of work by the exhibiting artists:
Akeem Roberts
Yasin Osman
Victor Varnado
Jared Lewis II
 
Visit Victor Varnado’s website here.
Visit Akeem Roberts’s website here.
Visit Yasin Osman’s website here.
See work by Jerald Lewis II here.
Link here for more information on the Anti-Racism Activity Book
My thanks to Victor Varnado.
— My thanks as well to Roxanne Lim who provided all the photographs seen above.
 
AKEEM ROBERTS
CARTOONIST
CARTOONISTS
CARTOONS
CHASHAMA GALLERY
JERALD LEWIS II
NEW YORKER CARTOON
NEW YORKER CARTOONISTS
NEW YORKER CARTOONS
ROXANNE LIM
THE NEW YORKER
VICTOR VARNADO
YASIN OSMAN
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ONE COMMENT
David A Fay says:
July 25, 2021 at 7:37 pm
Thanks for posting these cartoons –
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