Showing posts from February, 2014

Another Attempt to Silence a Cartoonist

Below is a drawing, we know only too painfully well. Made in August 2011 when Ali Ferzat was attacked in Damascus and his hands maimed in order to prevent him from ever drawing again. Words which were even yelled at him while he was being beaten up.

And now the words and the deed behind them are yet again a cruel reality:

A Nominee for Worst Editor in History?


A strange word that has an invisibility to it. It is the glue of our society without which everything would be in chaos in a matter of a few days. However, it is only at times such as in our house with my Father on a ventilator that we are constantly vigilant of the electricity supply. Even a hint of a problem and his life will be at risk.

Internal and in every corner of society, lacking a center, infrastructure constitutes the same pictorial issues as the notion of democracy. And yet it is exactly in this the Algerian cartoonist, Djamel Ghanem, excels. With a delicate line which reminisces the French mid 20th century tradition, he depicts endless rows of desks or a line of fire extinguishers with no beginning or end and an occasional inspector, all of which by description sounds fairly graphically simple, but intricately unveils the lack of professionalism within the organization of society.

Some in power constitute themselves as different from the rest, taking the pr…

The continuous hand gesture

- it is the continuous hand gesture of the artist that is a precondition for the line in the drawing, the result of which we see when looking at the drawing. And yet we do not take in the final drawing as a unity, already there. We follow the gesture along the picture plane as if the drawing was being made in front of us.

The observation was made by the late philosopher Richard Wollheim and his words are the first that spring to mind when I see Annette Carlsen at work.

"Europe is sleeping"

The emphasis on the contour of each feature underlines the focus on every utterance from the portrayed. Cartoonists listen through their pen, they transform on the spot what is being unfolded.

And so it follows that in a discussion of cartoonists, they draw each other.
Ida Felicia Noack caught Erik Petri on paper while drawing on paper panels at the back of the room when Plantu chaired a masterclass with the Danish cartoonists in Copenhagen this week. The theme of the day turned out to become BEWARE of the state of our democracy and with the very word democracy comes cartooning:
We have a new kind of censorship at hand, Plantu clarified. There is the vulgar one we know from Iran and, using the example of his own country, we have the hypocrite one. I need not even detail - his line of reasoning, the standpoint of editors today, not to mention the reaction from across the world and the impact of it all on the situation of the cartoonist was nailed by Erik Petri:

- Europe is sleeping. B…

"A Lesson in Drawing"

On the morning when the photo-documentation of the 11,000 Syrian detainees, murdered by the Assad-rule was publicized, Tarek Alghorani nodded that he had personally seen and heard even worse. The photos were all too true. He sent the poem below by his fellow countryman, Nizar Qabbani, for my brother and I to read when commemorating our uncle.

The poem unfolds how the simplest line stems directly from our innermost being. Expression comes from a place deeper than our conscious presence, of which a third great Syrian, the cartoonist Juan Zero, is the perfect interpreter. 

Juan Zero is a minimalist, taking drawing to its core with a few strokes using a slightly wavering line. The texture of his line alone is a tale about the necessity to draw, exposing what is taking place in Syria here and now. Just how intense the line is, is laid bare when paraphrasing the outcry of The Guernica, calling out once again, this time on the situation of all Syrians: Don't forget those still detained.

By …

Congratulations Per Marquard Otzen!

A long shadow is cast the length of the book page. It is not an easy thing reading. At least it should not be. We should be wounded and stabbed, taking a blow to our heads, in the words of Kafka, why else should we be reading?
Why else should we be looking at cartoons?
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