Showing posts from May, 2015


Create a monster and it comes back to haunt you.

Note the confrontation. And that (un)forgiving green.

And once again the power of fiction is before us, today's international political situation uncovered through a story written 200 years ago by a 19-year old woman.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Amine Labter and must not be reproduced without his permission. A special thank you to Kader Bakou for the title to this post.

Demonstrating with Mandela

Watchword. Such a magnificent - well, word, but magnificent in its meaning of standing guard, and words and images alike are precisely that to Zwewla.

Their use of imagery and slogans may seem almost stripped raw and kept unto their very basic idea. They each embody a shouting out; a physical presence of having broken the silence and that it is now the time to take up their invitation and speak too.

Zwewla has all along been true to their first objective to give poverty a voice. Given all that has taken place since we first heard from them at the onset of the Arab Spring, where they themselves were taken to court for addressing what should not be talked of, i.e. "spreading lies" and a constant menace of possible legal intervention since, add to that the fact that the Tunisian constitution eventually became a reality - all of which into one sentence alone is too much - it is all the more laudable how they have kept to said objective, pointing to the fact that the reality of po…

"One day the drawing left me"

- On the very same day as a handful of beloved friends. The only difference being that it came back. Little by little. At once darker and lighter. At its return, I talked to it, cried, laughed, screamed, I calmed myself to a degree that the line cleared up. We tried to understand each other, the two of us. We said to each other, the drawing and I that we would never be the same. Like so many others. This book is not a testimony, much less a comic book, but the story of a reunion between two friends who came close to never meeting again".

The words above are from the foreword of Catharsis by Luz, who survived the massacre at the premises of Charlie Hebdo by not quite reaching the office until that moment, when the murderers left the building. Having seen and yet not quite having seen, but having seen too much in the sense of knowing all too much, Catharsis is an album on being thrown into a sea of mourning and on learning to swim it by way of forging a voice for oneself.

In inter…


In the midst of the battle of the graffiti drones, the painting ones and the ones surveying those painting; let us enjoy the sheer delight of seeing the tower of the Copenhagen town hall with paint dripping from its cornices.

Note the shadowing on the building itself, mirroring the embrasures, making the red color plane come alive. Jørn Villumsen has tipped the tower and building toward each other, at long last uniting them visually. A dramatic one to boot, opening to an aerial perspective.

Let us zoom in on the littlest one of the ducks; the one who is always first being eaten, shot or run over.
We just knew this one had it in him:

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

"You love all destructive speech, you false tongue"

It is a humbling experience to visit an art exhibition with a cartoonist.

Humbling in the sense that you realize how busy you are shoveling on prejudices to hold up in front of you protecting you from taking in what is before you. For my own part there is a lot of art historian luggage - So, is that artist supposed to be a genius as the curatorial jargon wants me to believe?! - all of which I waste more time battling than to be present.

Not so the cartoonist. You suddenly realize that he is being very quiet.

He - Bonil (Xavier Bonilla) - goes directly to the artwork, daring to be silent to sense what emanates from it. He is creating a meeting, letting the artwork unfold itself at its own pace, while he begin deciphering the layers being opened to him. The two of them create the very fusion of horizons and with this our revelation that we are at the core of the cartoonist's own art.

A drawing by Bonil invites you in from the very first glance at it. It opens itself before you, com…

"I shall never forgive"

"I laugh of what I want to when I want to". As stated by Charb in his Petit traité d'intolerance from 2009 on the things to avoid in life such as the theorists on laughter. 
A true Rabelaisian (with that analysis by Glucksmann added on) Charb underlined that the problem is not be found in the "You can laugh at everything, but..." - combination. The "but..."-continuation changes nothing. It is the sentence itself "You can laugh at everything" - Cette sentence parfaitement imbecile - which is the problem, i.e. someone granting to others the right to laugh: "I do not need your benediction and I am not at all forced to laugh at everything. I laugh of what I want to when I want to". 
Charb is no longer with us and what took place on January 7 this year shall remain an open wound in cartooning. For anyone trying to write off the murdered Charlie Hebdo-cartoonists as it has been attempted the past weeks from a number of members of the Ame…

It's Not Funny

"Everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler"

And this is where the struggle between those claiming power and the cartoonist sets in. The latter is Khalid Wad Albaih, whom we have met on this blog as the artist behind the best definition of democracy I have seen to date (that impossible task, drawing democracy, but he nailed it); not to mention mapping the 21st century so far and pointing out the IS/Daesh as killers of Islam.

On May 1 his special exhibition It's Not Funny opened at The Arab American National Museum, which is a joyful occasion to take a look back at his recent works and see how closely the notion of identity is linked to his distinction between simplicity and the simplistic.

Just look at the head of this blog post with the first drawing above and sense the lightness and shine emanating from it, as if it radiates a room for calm and openness. Khalid transforms his reflections onto the picture plane, posing genuine questions to us. Which i…

On World Press Freedom Day

"How did the paper obtain this power over people? That is the big question: Did it contain toxins, was it some kind of rays...

... What was it about the paper that made people go crazy in a globalized civil war? The scientists are still looking for an explanation"

"Was it the words on it?

That is a very bold theory!!"

The cartoons shown are courtesy of their artists and must not be reproduced without their permission.

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