Showing posts from October, 2014

"Don't be late, Dodo!"

- her father is shouting after Dodo, who answers back that "If I am not hit by a car, or smashed by a door or a window won't fall on me, I'll be back on time!"

This may be an all too poignant way of saying goodbye to a protagonist in Doaa Eladl's work, unless...

Let me give the word to Tony Daoud, who translated the above and stated the situation in Egypt in a few words and so much better than I could ever do:

"Her father and the cat are crying as if they already know she may be late or not coming back. This should never be a daily conversation.

Doaa Eladl is showing us other sides of the story. Or the consequences. The emotional and psychological consequences. And the effects of every incident on daily behavior.

I guess at the moment most Egyptians are scared from getting arrested just because... So maybe you will be late against your own will".

His words were all the more accentuated when Doaa Eladl in the very same minutes published her drawn analys…

Destitutes for Sale

On the eve of the Tunisian elections yesterday, Zwewla put up this banner:

Destitutes for Sale: Poverty. Unemployment. Marginalization. Torture.
Contact: #TNelections.

Torture placed in direct association with the social situation. As it happened the election meant a return of the already known from the times of Ben Ali and no less even of the first president Bourgiba. Thus the already known in the situation of the poor.

Based on the stencil "Blindness" by the graffiti group Icy and Sot, it is one of the strongest faces we have seen from Zwewla with grey shadowing creating the illusion of bright light onto the face. Which is in turn broken by the undefined red smeared across his eyes. He is doing his best to be able to look out. The problem is not to be found from within the poor.

Please note that this is a banner and not a mural. Zwewla is already awaiting yet another judicial outcome from commenting on the situation of the poor on public walls.

The Right Way to See Life and Art?

This autumn the Swedish artists have decided it is time to be no longer silent on a problem which has been growing for two decades now. The threats, bullying and personal onslaughts from the extreme right-wing party Sverigedemokraterna (i.e. "Swedish Democrats"). The verbal version of their conduct was articulated in public this summer when one member of the Swedish parliament Margaretha Larsson declared from the rostrum a particular artist ought to be imprisoned. But their condemnations are not new per se, and at times their tactics take on a very direct form. The assaulted artists are labelled as a disease (as in "unhealthy" and "degenerate") and as being "foreign" of character with the insistence that they should go live elsewhere.

Sadly, we know those words all too well here too. Persons are declared foreign and sick, not sufficiently "Danish" as if one group of people owns the right to define what is true Swedish or Danish to all…

Letter to a Dead Cartoonist


From now on we go our separate ways. Well, we have actually never even met. Truth be told, you died 30 years ago. But you were the cartoonist whose archive I organized at the Royal Library when I was still just a teenager. I was a freshman at uni and it was my job to sort out and catalogue 6000 of your original drawings.

There was one corner of your life's work which was wholly absent. The years when you drew against Hitler and his gang. Everyone nodded that this was but a parenthesis in your life's work anyway. You were the happy-go-lucky figure. And I nodded along, we were at the Department of Manuscripts and words had an aura to them that images and cartoons in particular seemed to be lacking. How could a mere cartoonist set a project such as Hitler's in jeopardy?

Hitler obviously thought you could. Nazi-Germany kept a keen eye on all that was drawn from day one, which was actually not a bad idea considering you drew him only three days later, refusin…

Cadmium Yellow Light

Vincent without cadmium is like.... well, the reason why his Sun Flowers were almost bursting with magic a couple of decades ago and now are withering on their canvas.

Cadmium was discovered in 1817 and it is presumed it may have been used as early as 1830 in artists' paints. It was one of many new heavy metals being applied in the synthetic paints which saw the light in the first half of the 19th century and reading the old scripts on testing how much to use of each and what not to use again is better than a crime novel.

Particularly the latter ones. Such as Asphalt which sadly Delacroix had already put to much use in great and masterful works since it gave a certain depth to its color until after a few years the Asphalt began eating of the other ingredients.

There has been much eating, bleeding and fading of colors in the history of paintings; triumphs of new inventions that had forgotten to take the life-span of a painting into the equation. Artwork into Firework, flaying up an…

I salute you!

!Yo te saludo, Creador de la tira anticómica!

I am sorry, I do not have the The book of Daniel by E.L. Doctorow in its original English by me, so please excuse me when I do not translate back the salution correctly, but oh, what a wonderful notion Doctorow creates: The anti-comical drawing!

Anti-comical. The saluted cartoonist is Robert Minor, who was a true representative of cartooning as an art in which humor is a core factor, but not an end it itself.

Case in point: Khalid Wad Albaih avoids any obvious portrayal of Sudan below. Instead the very name of Sudan  السودان constitutes the depths from which the cries of the Sudanese can be heard: "Education", "Democracy", "Health care", while the government representative explains: "This is why we made it a hole this deep".

The drawing is a beauty in itself. The delicacy of the line within the vast whiteness of the picture plane is already playing with us how little is needed to say it all. And yet…

"When you point out the moon to Willis..."

The imbecile or the innocent does not understand the notion of a beyond, but relates to the physical presence. Thus our reason for declaring someone imbecile and/or innocent.

But in pointing out there is also an element of convention ("Look, this is how you should perceive the world") or of deception ("Look away, look over there instead"). And so the cartoonist returns to where the insistence originated and gnashes to the bone of it. Never take anything a point value, least of all the response of the cartoonist.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Nadia Khiari and must not be reproduced without her permission.

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