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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 October 2015
NEWS 4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 OCTOBER 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Kalo taxidi Tony Celebrated caricaturist and war artist dies at 99 MICHAEL SWEET Australia has lost a creative pioneer who single-handedly redefined the cartoon as popular art. War artist, war correspondent and prolific caricaturist Tony Rafty died on Friday 9 October, just three days short of his 100th birthday. “He was able to look under a person’s exterior and capture the essence of the subject or what makes him or her tick.” Acknowledged as one of Australia's most significant war artists for his work in WWII, the former Fairfax illustrator and author of Australia's first comic strip was the creator of more than 10,000 published sketches of politicians, sportspeople and entertainers, and was possibly the most prolific portrait maker of modern times. Tony Rafty was born Anthony Raftopoulos in Paddington NSW in 1915. His father Dionysis had migrated to Australia from the island of Ithaca in 1902, returning briefly to Greece ten years later to fight with the Greek army in the liberation of Constantinople. He returned to Sydney in 1914 with his wife Angelica Karavia and they were blessed with a son a year later. Tony was educated at Rose Bay Public School and spent two years at Sydney Technical College until his family's poverty forced him to leave the education system at the age of 14. He and his younger brother Stan found em- Tony working at home in later years. He is one of only three people in Australia to have received the Greek Orthodox Church’s Cross of Mount Athos. ployment first as golf caddies at Royal Sydney Golf Club. With Tony's artistic aspirations always encouraged by his mother, during the 1930s he drew for a number of publications including The Bulletin, The Labour Daily and The Referee, after which he joined Sydney's The Sun newspaper in 1938. Just prior to joining the army in 1940, Tony tasted success as the author of the Tony with his wife Shirley and sons Denis and Stan in 1957. Shirley Rafty (nee Morey) was his inspiration and support for 70 years. PHOTO: RAFTY FAMILY. first Australian-published comic book, Jimmy Rodney of the Secret Service. During WWII he was posted to Darwin, spending time in hospital, where he drew the nurses and fellow patients. His obvious ability to sketch accurately, quickly, and with flair was viewed by his superiors as a skill which could be used elsewhere and he was transferred to the AIF's Military History Section in Melbourne. Although employed initially as an illustrator on various publications, he was anxious to work in forward areas. In early 1944 his am- Tony Rafty’s drawing of Greek President Constantine Karamanlis on a state visit to Sydney in 1982. VE Day (Victory in Europe) celebrations in Martin Place, Sydney, 8 May 1945, sketched by Tony Rafty.
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