Showing posts from September, 2014

"Vote for me, vote for God"

Since it so happens that searching for the presidential candidates in the upcoming Tunesian elections may bring you to this blog, let us do a poster on that very topic. Willis has of course been long ready, and so has Yahia Boulahia.

His poster has been waiting in a drawer for the opportunty since January 2012. In fact Yahia Boulahia was created as a character for that very purpose. So, without further ado: 

Yahia is an Islamist without a doubting bone in his body. His face is full on and not a hint of a shadow to add layers to his personality. On the contrary the rays emanate from him in his certainty of embodying the light itself. And the rage, always the rage of the Islamist. His only focus is to command us to do as he tells us. This is his usual way of addressing the world, but there is something about the poster which tends towards another famous one.

This one by Alfred Leete, first published on the cover of the magazine London Opinon on September 5, 1914. Featuring Kitchener the Se…

On Taking the Contour Off Human Life

Hokusai attempted to create the ultimate artwork, and far from being satisfied with his achivements himself, yet he created the archetype of the sea, of movement and of danger in the one and same take.
Hamid Suleiman has by way of Hokusai transformed the now of war, of fleeing, the callous sailors and those desperate for safety. All the more painful for not including a wave. Only the suggestion of it in the sinking boat with the foam of humans in peril:

Hamid Sulaiman, Refugees' boat waiting for The Great Wave off Kanagawa,  mixed media on paper, September 20, 2014

Hamid Sulaiman employs the effects of a wooden print, such as the slightly zigzaggy waving lines and the fuzzy outlines of the ink as if caused from the soft wood. And then he does anything but of what we expect. 
There is no thick contour to go with it. On the contrary his works are next to contourless. This is what makes the Refugees' boat so very menacing to behold. It is hardly there and all the more so for being…

Searching for Pap'Azo

Centre Africain de la Caricature (CAC) is wondering if anyone would know the whereabouts of the cartoonist Pap'Azo?

Azo Bikoka, or Papa Azo (Pap'Azo) belonged to the first generation of Congolesan cartoonists, who in the 1950s addressed a situation of combat against colonialism and the demand for independence. The colonial papers before them had been unpolitical, but with the growing awareness and soon insistence on new times, new papers emerged. Combat papers, Alain Mushabah Massumbuko, CEO and researcher of CAC, calls them. 

And with the combat papers, came combat cartoonists.

The tone of the publications was a light one, constantly tickling the colonial power, interspersed with verbal abuse of the more direct kind. All in all the newspapers are said to have played their part in Congo gaining independence i 1960 and one of the most important of these young artists was Pap'Azo. From combat cartoonist he went on to draw the social daily life of the new country and the struggl…

Health in Venezuela

A case of minimalism.

The straight line. Vertical. Red. With the signature of Hugo Chávez.

Symbolical and literal in the very same take. Its cartoonist, Rayma Suprani, was fired the very next day of its publication from the paper, El Universal, whose cartoonist she had been for 19 years.

Chávez died in 2013. His successors proved Rayma's point by their very reaction.

Such is the power of the cartoonist. Such is the pressure under which the cartoonist is living.

"We meet at the Zitouna Mosque...

... in the heart of the medina of Tunis with O., a member of the graffiti group Zwewla. On the first night we put up posters in a place that is quite busy, close to a school of traditional music. It is necessary to work in haste. O. explains that the medina is monitored by "guardians", circulating within the walls of the Old City.

A guardian of the neighborhood just so happens to pass by the minute we are finishing doing the paste-up. O. invents a story about a collaboration with the School of Music, and we decamp. O. is quite tense."

This is how Mahn Kloix and Yuvany Gnepopen their tale
#SmallisBig: Collages in the Medinain La Marseillaise.

Mahn Kloix is the creator of Small is Big; a project on the iconicity of the public uprisings of the past years from Canada and the US to Spain, Greece, Tunisia and Egypt.

Faces from each uprising as we have seen them in glittery photos, were drawn with a thin line to keep that sense of the sharp crispness of high-definition lights an…

"What can I possibly draw?"

When I first saw the Postcard above, Henry Tonks sprung to mind. The surgeon-turned-artist-and-then-surgeon-once-again, when World War 1 was a reality. He recorded the shattered faces of the soldiers and the attempts to recreate them, so that they could once again pass as humans.

And yet, the war could never be wiped off of them; there was no going back to normality. What is it after all, normality. It is a strange notion. We strive for Order that turns out to have no affinity with reality and as such has its beauty. Tragedies were written for that very purpose. With heroes doing the right thing according to the ideal aristotelian binarism of good and bad.

And then there is the comedy, based on our daily lives. Altogether base through and through and certainly without heroes, but they have protagonists, in this case the artist himself: Mazen Kerbaj; that unique being who makes anything into art, be it visually or of sound that he touches.

He has indeed the format of an exemplary prota…

Obey the, well...

I have written before on the courage of the Resistance of WW2, of which my paternal grandfather was one and today would have been his birthday. Since what he did back then was morally reprehensible according to the official stance of the Danish government, it is a fitting day to enjoy a bit of civil disobedience.

Since World War II children in Northern Europe have been taught not to take anything at face value. Our very first books in life tell us to tease, challenge and question the authorities.

A street sign in a childrens' book is doomed to be stolen and burnt. So the extra coat of paint on the one below is in fact a rather subtle undermining of reason, by whoever saw the potential of creating a metasign:

The photo shown is courtesy of Hanne Brandt Andersen and must not be reproduced without her permission.

Movement and Its Opposites

The Algerian cartooning background of Djamel Lounis is instantly recognizable for its roots in Belgian/French 20th century postwar comic strips. A rounded contour with no fear of speaking in as clear a voice as the quality of the contour. All the more outspoken in leaving most of the paper in a void. All is said with the one person or the clash between the two of them that no more is needed. Even a comment on the weather turns into a menacing question.
Djamel Lounis,  50C in the shadows at the south of Algeria
August 5, 2012.
- The shadows, where?

Djamel Lounis,
Iran is thought to be in possession of the nuclear bomb,
November 19, 2011

All the more menacing in a society in which the authorities do not even see the need for an exclamation mark, while denying the citizens their rights:

Djamel Lounis' take on the IS in recent days is particularly poignant for using the traditional setting of a cartoon, in which two persons meet and battle out their positions. In this case the movement of …

Is This a Portrait of Europe?

We have grown up being taught of the dangers of this figure. The Eichmann of the Holocaust, the one who made the ultimate identification with his role, making himself invisible, if not nonexistant outside his task at hand. Adorno was critical of Arendt and her analysis of Eichmann, of which the word "banal" precedes all familiarity of what she actually wrote. Adorno would not be Adorno had he not insisted on clarification by way of problematizing, so he agreed with her in identifying the evil as trivial. Only he would put it the other way round: Evil is not trivial per se, it is triviality that is evil.

Fadi Abou Hassan has made a series of ministers representing each their field and yet remaining hidden. The same amorphous body underneath all of them, defining the "unchanging in form and character" of a uniform.

To the one fleeing from war, this is how Europe presents itself today. The bureaucrat sealing off the continent.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Fadi Ab…

The Striving

John Stuart Mill. He is the one, who put the situation into perspective this time too, when the Danish media discovered a case of an "artist" declared guilty of racism back in April and again in July/August in Sweden.
The name of the convict is Dan Park and he, well, there is nothing in what he does, we can remotely refer to as art. There are no layers of interest, nor different approaches we can grasp from the lousy prints that bear his name. They are onesidedly mockers of certain groups of the Swedish society. Not the authorities, questioning those in power, challenging them, making structures visible, which were otherwise unknown, as we saw it with the printed art of the 1970's. No, their only aim is to mock and belittle. The Swedish street artists see no affinity with him.
The matter should never have been taken to court. That is the first and last of it. Jurisdiction has but two options of declaring guilt or innocence, of which neither is a useful answer in a publi…
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