Mike Asukwo is one of Africa’s the most influential cartoonist. He is described by some as the most abrasive cartoonists in Nigeria, his cartoons have been described as poignant, acerbic and humorous. Mostly counter-narratives against dominant governmental narratives on sociopolitical issues. The impassive nature of his cartoons provokes discourse on various sociopolitical issues and remain instruments of persuasion.
Born in Idua Assang in Oron Local government of Akwa Ibom state. Asukwo attended the famous St Vincent’s College, Oron, and went to study Business Administration at Calabar Polytechnic, he dropped out in his second year to pursue his passion for fine arts at the prestigious Yaba College of Technology, specialising in Sculpturing. In 1996 he left the institution as Best Graduating Student in the School of Art, Design and Printing.
After graduation, he became a full time studio artist, creating series of sculptures, drawings and paintings and unique handcrafted gift items. He forged a partnership with Reni Folawiyo and became the creative director at the studio for a while. According to Asukwo, “It was an era that improved the quality of my thought processes and enriched the intellectual content of my creative efforts. It helped me infuse a more sophisticated and minimalist approach in my work that gave it a wider appeal”.
He later joined BusinessDay Newspapers as a cartoonist but took a break for about a year to work with a team of sculptors in Calabar, Cross River State. They created most of the monumental outdoor sculptures in Calabar, including the Calabar City Gate Twin Towers, The Calabar Roundabout, the Coat of Arms and many others. The break lasted four years after which he returned to BusinessDay as the Senior Editorial Artist.
His illustrations and cartoons are published on BusinessDay and in several other magazines, newspapers (including Pioneer Newspaper), books, newsletters and journals in Nigeria and abroad, including numerous websites and blogs and social media platforms.
Mike is a member of the Cartoonists Association of Nigeria, Society for Nigerian Artists. He held a solo cartoon exhibition titled Laughter In The Mirror in 2018 and has participated in many group exhibitions home and abroad and is a recipient of several awards including Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism Award 2012, 2013 and 2015 (Cartoon category) . He is married and lives in Lagos, Nigeria.