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Showing posts from January, 2015

"We did what was written, right?!"

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Get your visuals right! To paraphrase Ganzeer's message two days after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo: The murderers were camouflaged in black, not in long robes and beards.

And most cartoonists were already doing exactly that. The Black Clad have been all over the picture planes since last summer, giving them a tangible presence to our minds. In fact they may wish for more beards, since their masking have proved to be the perfect canvas to unmasking them, as it is.

For one thing they are constantly being compared to donkeys, configuring the Arabic correlation of "stupid" and "donkey". Doaa Eladl has consequently made the ultimate coupling, camouflaging them as donkeys. With the Qur'an read upside down, and whether Bearded or Black, in her cartoons guns have always just been fired:




The cartoon shown is courtesy of Doaa Eladl and must not be reproduced without her permission. A special thank you to Tony Daoud for translating and explaining.

Shaimaa al-Sabbagh

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On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the Egyptian uprising a young woman, Shaimaa al-Sabbagh was shot and killed while marking the anniversary with flowers at the place were it all began.

I ought to write activist rather than stating her gender, but she was caught on camera at the very moment she was being helped from the scene, one of her co-activists gripping her to carry her away. Man and woman opposing each other, each in his and her own pain and shock, vulnerable and yet so strong in their desperation at the realization. An icon from the instant it was caught on camera.

The very image has been brought to the streets, demonstrators taking on the pose of the two in Paris while their unity were made into a cut-out cardboard held above the heads of protestors in Cairo. And now it is a Khartoon too.

Khalid Wad Albaih has condensed them to the core of their unity, keeping the blood streaming on her cheek and down her hand, accentuating her delicate fingers stretched out in the shoc…

"Tu rêvais d'être libre, et je te continue"

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Tu rêvais d'être libre, et je te continue, "You dreamt of being free, and I will continue you", were the final words by the French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, quoting Paul Eluard in her formidable address to Tignous, cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo at his funeral this month.

Nevertheless, the media keep posing the question, if Tignous and his colleagues will indeed be continued? A Danish national paper has issued a questionnaire to authors and cartoonists, if they will be inflicting self-censorship upon themselves from now on. Are there taboos such as religion, extremism and fundamentalism, which you will refrain from drawing? Are you inhibiting yourself before you even put pen to paper?

The question cannot be answered.

Cartoonists reflect upon the now. They are taking in the perspectives of before and after, transforming the now into a symbolic setting, literally drawing a greater picture. But the core of the matter is the need to reflect on what is taking place…

Auschwitz Day 2015

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- Holocaust Memorial Day in Denmark






today I am standing before you - a survivor personifying silence

- two lines of the poem Auschwitz by Andrzej Ostrowski. The silence from the impossibility of using old and worn words to describe the not before known.

"We became aware that our language lacks words to express this offense, this demolition of man" with which the likewise Auschwitz-survivor and author Primo Levi described how the survivor is being torn between the impossible and yet the need to tell what took place, living in the constant torture of never being able to leave the camp mentally.

Primo Levi wrote some of the most important works on Auschwitz and let us on this day, 70 years to the day of the Russian troops liberating the camp, quote his words taking us to the core of that very feeling of necessity; the task he and his co-prisoners put upon us: Act. Act when needed to so that extermination camps of this kind shall remain a monument of what took place and never ag…

Satire Tolerated?

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I just happened upon a discussion on some online-board, one commenter having found a printed page on the Norwegian Queen Maud. Drawn by Valdemar Andersen.

The question running through the discussion was what to think of it. At once ethereal from the dotting as if the reflection from her diamonds is dissolving her, while being a fully frontal and confronting portrait of double size of those beneath her. Regally tall as she is, she hovers over her countrymen, who are bowed into submission to a degree that they are hardly detectable from the mountainous landscape.

Is it meant to be satirical?






Of course it is.

It was created for the satirical magazine Klods-Hans as a full page print in or right after 1905. Klods-Hans was heavily inspired by Simplicissimus and was a magazine in which authors and cartoonists had a ball taking a closer look at the outpourings of those regarding the public space as their personal limelight.

The interesting situation of seeing her online today is that she is …

"Let's be different, let's be beautiful!"

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To "denigrate" i.e. to speak damagingly or to defame someone's character can be traced as a derogatory term as far back as 1520/30. Thus according to Webster's. To blacken - nigrare - someone verbally have in other words been a smearing of fellow men for 500 years.





Je n'écoute pas ceux que te dénigrent -thus began one of the open letters from Mariam Toure, who addressed the Tunisian public the first time on September 29 last year and created a whirlwind in the country - and beyond. She is indeed a force, putting into words how she will no longer put up with racism, neither in its implied nor in its direct form in society.

She along with an artist as the Tunisian photographer Lotfi Ghariani are important eye-openers to all of us. Cartooning is suspected to be a place of speaking in types, but I wonder if it may not be even more markedly so when analyzing said drawings, categorizing in order to create deft analyses. When it happens, it is lazy thinking at best and …

On That First Cover

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Could this be the very portrayal of the (wrongly attributed) Voltarian dictum of defending the right to speak of the one we disagree with?

Charlie Hebdo created a first cover after the massacre of which everybody disagrees. That is sort of the order of things; we should not have known them again otherwise. The artist of this drawing is among the disagreeing. And yet he has chosen to draw the disagreement as exactly that. Not his own stance as he had every reason to. But the very discussion of which we shall never find consensus.

Khalid Wad Albaih has thus portrayed the very heart of democracy. Democracy stands its test, when everybody gets his and her say, fighting on words for and against and is still alive when leaving the ring.

Even if Voltaire had no say in it.



The Khartoon shown is courtesy of Khalid Wad Albaih and must not be reproduced without his permission.

"If you draw a picture attacking me, I will draw a picture back"

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Minutes before the office of Charlie Hebdo was attacked, a drawing on al-Baghdadi was uploaded to Facebook, in which the latter was sending the cartoonists his wishes for the new year specifying his interest in their good health.

We have already taken a look at the drawing on this blog, only it was not a day to be looking at the dramatic elegance of Honoré; his planes of black versus white with each plane contoured by delicate scrolling in which the story line would be unfolding. In the case of a-Baghadi he was speaking on a background of open-ended flourishes (the decorations carved in the stone work on the actual photo we have all seen). It is as if we actually see his declarations bellowing from him.

The flourishes are no longer present in the stencil below, created by Tarek Alghorani on the very day of the murders. With good reason. This one is created for the walls of Raqqa from where IS is operating. So far, if ever, we cannot know if it has been put to use, but it is the first…

Four Years of Revolution, sorry, I mean of Willis

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In light of the tragedy last Wednesday I saw some commentaries on a cartooning video questioning the need to speak so freely all the time. The commentaries were in a Danish context and I could not help thinking if we in the Danish debate at least have been too focused on stressing the right to speak freely - and we are in a context in which the word is already free and a matter of staying so - while forgetting to actually talk about cartooning. 
We have been looking at the form rather than the content.
But nothing is easier to change that course. Speaking up is a right or a demand, depending on where we are, exercised each and every day by the cartoonists. I am humbled when I look around on this blog alone and see their courage. They have been imprisoned, tortured, injured and exiled and they keep on drawing. What happened to their colleagues at Charlie Hebdo will only make them all the more determined.
And this is the very evening in which Willis entered Facebook for the very first tim…

Vous êtes Charlie?

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These past devastatingly sad days it has been emphasized how Charlie Hebdo is in a league of its own. It certainly has been next to impossible to quote from the weekly. The editorial interest does not lie in the actual rendering of the drawing; how making that slant of the pen would create a certain effect. They have partaken in and most often created new layers to the public debate, which is difficult to transform onto a blog such as the present one without the argument losing its spark.

Charlie Hebdo does, however, form part of a long tradition, of which Willis is another offspring. In the 18th century we had the likes of Rowlandson and Cruikshank bashing the authorities, being the first cartoonists operating in a democracy; while Daumier became a lighthouse of inspiration half a century later when he took down anyone claiming power over anyone or anything.

Nadia Khiari undresses the power by combining the confrontation and the outspoken drawing the figurative carpet away underneath…

Je suis Charlie

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The anger. The anger with which the self portrait of Annette Carlsen hammers a pencil into a kalashnikov.




And the context. In the sea of condolences in front of the French Embassy today. Everyone has laid pens and pencils; the flowers had likewise a pencil tied to them.




The cartoon shown is courtesy of Annette Carlsen and must not be reproduced without her permission. The photos were taken by me.

"The truth reddens the eyes, but does not kill them"

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From the African Centre of Caricature comes the reactions below following yesterday's murder on the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo. As their cartoons show, the situation is only too well known to them:





The African Centre of Caricature (CAC) joins in the mourning that has struck the family of cartoonists in the world and the Journal Charlie Hebdo; with the assassination, mere instances ago (in the afternoon of Wednesday, January 7, 2015), the cartoonists Charb, Cabu, Wolinski and Tignous) at the attack on the weekly Charlie Hebdo.

We call on all fellow cartoonists to join in our mourning in the memory of our gallant dead-murdered colleagues on the battlefield.

The CAC Team





"The long march to freedom of expression" does not end until the "dark figures" stop chewing on the freedom of expression.
It will never be possible to "chew up" CHARLIE HEBDO and all other media that work for the promotion of truth and PEACE!!!
CHARLIE HEBDO and all other media the t…

Words from Socrates and his Successors today on Charlie Hebdo

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BY IVAR GJØRUP:

Greetings to you all from Ivar Gjørup!

On this day you should read, what Plato once wrote in despair on the subject of terrorism (GORGIAS 469): "Imagine that we meet in public and I have an AK 47 hidden under my coat (this is Socrates speaking and he says "In a square crowded with humans with a knife hidden under my cloak" - but the meaning is the same). Now I am the world's most powerful man, I say so, because I have the power of life and death! Every one of those you see around you will die if I so wish!"

What kind of power is that, Socrates is asking. A lousy and callous power of violence, we answer, then as now. Soon I shall have finished my book about him, Plato.
And then I better take up drawing again.



And his original words in Danish:

Hilsen til jer alle fra Ivar Gjørup!

Læs på denne dag, hvad Platon skrev engang i fortvivlelse om emnet terror (GORGIAS 469): "Forestil dig, at vi mødes i det offentlige rum og jeg har en AK 47 gemt und…

The many faces of Charlie Hebdo

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The faces of Charlie Hebdo drawn by Erik Petri during a visit to their in November 2009. Among them are Tignous at the uppermost left corner and Cabu at the bottom to the right. Do click the photo to see more details of the richness of many faces of the weekly:



The art pages shown are courtesy of Erik Petri and must not be reproduced without his permission.


Charlie Hebdo

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Drawn by Lars Andersen a few minutes after 1 PM today when the number of casualties was thought to be 11.

Each dotted bullet hole is a dark hole of mourning.





Shown by courtesy of Lars Andersen and must not be reproduced without his permission.


In support of Charlie Hebdo

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This was published within the hour of the attack on Charlie Hebdo. If the cartoon triggered anything, then here it is:


ETA: It has been confirmed that Honoré are among the murdered.

Concerning the cartoon above, however, it has been speculated whether it was actually by him or the work of hackers? The cartoon might work both ways. It could be the malicious answer directed at cartoonists being murdered at that very minute. It could on the other hand be a rather teasing move on the side of Charlie Hebdo as if they were on best of terms with a major opponent.

At this time we cannot know, but it was preceded by a cartoon from this week by Charb in which it is written "Still no attacks in France" to which the protagonist shouts out. "Wait! We have until the end of January to extend our wishes":





"The white paper was impossible"

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The title to this blog post was inescapable in its double association to the white and as yet unadorned paper and the necessity to express oneself. The artist finds it impossible to keep silent, while the prisoner tries to avoid marking the paper in the sham elections of Assad since his taking power in 2000. In unison Sulafa Hijazi and Tarek Alghorani manifest the corruption of humankind in an autocracy.

In the artworks by Sulafa Hijazi bodyparts have been ripped apart. There is no bleeding, no outward reaction. The drama is in the suppression of everything human, while the severed bodyparts are serving the intent of the despot. To the extent that the body grows weaponry. And yet the severed heads have each their expression; every part of the picture planes has texture. There is no surrender into a solid calm. Not even in the red background. Especially not that one in its dense coagulation.

The militarized disease that is and was the Assad regime is addressed by Tarek Alghorani in wo…

The Little Match Terrorist

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The fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen were indeed never for the innocent. In their hideout at the Tunisian Mount Chaambi the Bearded Terrorists are presently performing a modern version of The Little Match Girlon that fated evening, the last evening of the year:



The cartoon shown is courtesy of Nadia Khiari.


So, let's not...

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... question the existential rights of anyone:


It if after all a question which ought to be directed at ourselves. Terrified feathered beings running to and fro expose the brutality of our infrastructure.

Instead, on the first day of the year let us take to Abbey Road.

Note, how every detail below is correct; from the gate to the studios to the number plate of the white Volkswagen. But unlike the hoards of imitators of The Beatles striding across, the ducks are seen from above. By that the zebra crossing and adjoining zigzag lines are accentuated to make it known that right here and now the metal ramblers in the traffic have to give way for a string of nonchalant ducks.

Happy New Year!


The cartoon shown is courtesy of Jørn Villumsen and must not be reproduced without his permission.


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