Showing posts from 2019

Due Diligence

Freedom, social justice and the right to take part. In one word: Dignity. People are taking to the streets all over the world and in some cases we have next to no access of information on what is taking place. Iraq is the prime example right now, and the blindness is all the more blatant for the violence with which the demonstrators are met.

The Iraqis are taking action, while we are being served passivity and as always other stories take up the spotlight. Such as the killing of IS-leader al-Baghdadi.

When we were preparing Khartoon! last year this cartoon of al-Baghdadi was in the running for a while to be included. It is elegant, giving a precise analysis of a person of not that much importance as scarecrows goes. He is just a noise screen to distract attention from a much larger problem.

The cartoon remained the odd one until he was finally taken out of the book: There was simply no right place for him. He did not add to the arc of the narrative and to return to my point when the…

The Chimera of Treason

Let it be seen. Let it be known how the betrayal of the Kurds in early October came about following a phone call between the Presidents Trump and Erdogan permitting the Turks to launch an offensive into northeast Syria that till then had been held by the Syrian Kurds fighting back IS with the support of the US. When the US troops were pulled out, the Kurds were left with no choice but to make a deal with Assad, the murderer of his own people, while the initiative was left in the no less bloodied hands of Putin and Erdogan.

International politics form bodies of leagues and alliances in which burdens are shared while everyone involved is given a reach beyond their own borders. When a betrayal takes place within that body its DNA is damaged.

That body is transformed into a chimera.

Burden is another word for responsibility. The one part of the chimean body is denying having any, but his limp red tie shall forever be linked to the part that carried his burden on her shoulders all along. …

The Faces of Nicaragua

"They are hitmen. They are genocidal. And the persons in charge are Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo", Francisco's mother said after his murder. 
Pedro X. Molina has continued his Inktober of last year on the students killed in April 2018-protests. This year he has drawn the young, who were killed, when they took part in the Mother's Day march in May 2018 demanding justice for the loss of their children the month before. The young are looking directly at us framed by a presentation of them. Last year there was still an element of poetry to their interaction with an attribute that symbolized their dreams for the future that had been lost. This year the emphasis is on their portrait; full face, classical portraits. Pedro X. Molina is making us their witnesses. 
A year has passed and their murderers go as yet unpunished. Francisco was killed by a bullet through his right eye, for which reason his mother declared: "They are already hitmen, they know how to shoot a…

200 years of Goldschmidt

When we speak of cartooning in its present iteration within magazines and newspapers, we tend to throw out its age as that of "100 years or thereabout".

Now it is time to throw out "200 years or thereabout", in that he who made it happen in Denmark, Meïr Aron Goldschmidt, was born 200 years ago on October 26.

Goldschmidt created the satirical magazine Corsaren in 1840, with its very first cartoon printed at the last page of the last edition of that very year. We had not thought, being but a toddler magazine that we would have to dress in armor, Goldschmidt would write looking back half a decade later.

It would be tough years of having entire editions seized by censorship, court cases, having to find someone on the street to pretend to be that week's editor in that he was barred from writing his own name, and a row with Kierkegaard to top it all off. Then again, Corsaren was outspoken and daring, taking on the crown and courts alike with the wit of the young an…

Goodness Uncorrupted

"I forgot one thing, the abuse of teddy bears"

Peter Lautrop sent me a thank you note following one of our discussions in 2010 while he was preparing a book on his Teddy Bear Liberation Army, which we have covered here and here, when a new generation of teddy bears took on the banner in Minsk, Belarus. Louise Thrane Jensen drew his life from the very beginning in 1944 for the book Tegnere Tegner Tegnere.

Writing this is the sad occasion of Peter's passing away on Saturday.

His passing makes the presence of his colossal oeuvre all the more compelling. Simple yet monumental in every line. Take the thank you note. It is drawn to the brim of the paper he had at hand to a degree that he had to tape in the words afterwards.

We had been talking about his life's work already done and here was a fresh new exemplar that went against all definitions we had just reached. This was Peter. He would of course break the mold of any definition, which in this instance was evil never s…

The Relative Freedom of Musa Kart

Musa Kart is free.

The immense relief of his release from jail along with four of his colleagues at the paper Cumhuriyet came on Wednesday following the overturn of their verdicts by Turkish Supreme Court of Appeals. They were not allowed to make any public statements outside the prison, so they continued to a place five kilometers further on, where Musa Kart read a statement on behalf of them all. Sharp in words as in drawing as always, the following excerpts is a rough translation, please read the original if possible:

"It is difficult to live in countries that have lost their sense of profession. But it is even harder to live in countries, where everything is humor. Unfortunately we are going through a period where everything is humor. The prosecutor, who demanded 30-40 years of punishment for us, is being charged with membership of a FETÖ terrorist organization and sentenced to life imprisonment".

"Now we will not make grievance literature over the months and years…

We Are All Seen

Cartoonists go through a coming of age rite of their very own. 
They come of age, when they make the painful realization that humankind will never change. They have been drawing with intensity through a crisis, engaging in every aspect of it, only to come out on the other side realizing that nothing much has changed. 
That first realization brings despair and a feeling of uselessness. Why even bother? 

Last summer the turn came to Khalid Albaih. He had been an activist of the pen from 2009 and went on to visualize the unfolding of the Arab Spring. Tunisia gained a new constitution, but Egypt was left with a new autocrat and Syria... is a slaughterhouse by the hand of their dictator aided by Russia and Iran. Then the Saudi Crown Prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi murdered. The powerful proved as powerful as ever.

At the time of fearing for the fate of Khashoggi, we were preparing the first collection of Khalid's works for the book Khartoon! His many many cartoons weaved themselves int…

"We must remain on our guard"

- Words by Pu Zhiqiang shortly before his arrest as a human rights lawyer, while campaigning for an official recognition of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Pu Zhiqiang had been among the students protesting in 1989. We still do not know how many were killed that first week in June 1989, when the Chinese government decided to use military force against the students. The official number was 300; while Amnesty International estimated that close to 1,000 may have lost their lives.

The official number, however, was a short-lived one. The massacre has since formed into a non-existence according to the Chinese regime, along with the fact of the protests themselves.

"No one heard me. No one knew I was there (...) There was nothing but pain" are the harrowing words by citizens caught up by an "anti-corruption" law in a video of interviews of detainees, who had undergone torture to procure their confession. Pu Zhiqiang was the interviewer, uncovering how that particular…

Charta, Carta, Cartoon

Show the cartoonists the respect they deserve and state their name, when their work is shown.

A century ago it was still a rarity that their names were mentioned - at least in continental Europe. At times it was even forbidden to state their names. Imagery was meant to blend in seamlessly as the face of the magazine or paper. Names denote personal interpretation.

What about the name of the profession then, considering its central aspect in creating interpretation that should under no circumstance be mistaken for a mere illustration?

Traditionally in the Scandinavian languages we have given the cartoon a name which spoke not of what it was, but where it was printed: A newspaper drawing. In Danish to boot we have been using the old-fashioned word for a newspaper, "blad", so that it would cover all kinds of printed matter for distribution.

Present day Danes do not even know that word, which means they have no idea what we are talking about when we talk about "a "blad…

The Foot Soldiers of Erdogan

The Committee to Protect Journalists send out a weekly newsletter Turkey Crackdown Chronicle which week by week lays out the incidents, the harassment and sentencing made against Turkish journalists.

This week it ended its report on the sentence to two years and two months imprisonment against a construction worker, Deniz Avci, for sharing two cartoons on social media. The verdict states that his act was "insulting" to President Erdogan. Avci appealed his sentence.

One of the cartoons is the one above on Erdogan and his greeting "Hi soldier" to a line of judges as his foot soldiers. Drawn by Musa Kart, who is presently imprisoned.

No action has previously been taken against this specific cartoon and so we must deduct that the regime is not even pretending to define what is acceptable critique or not any longer: Any cartoon from the hand of Musa Kart is now automatically a punishable crime.

Let it be seen, then. Let us continue to let Musa Kart be seen, just as we mu…

Duelling Pens

Pages for a new History of Political Cartooning in Denmark

It is election week in Europe to the EU parliament and in Denmark it will be time to vote for the national parliament in two weeks time. The occasion is thus ripe to be looking at how to draw political opponents and especially where to find them.

The present examples were drawn but a few years into the Danish democracy with the constitution in place securing the right to draw freely. The energy was high, but the positions long firmly in place. The transition to democracy was a peaceful one here in that the main institutions remained in place securing a smooth change and so likewise, political positions remained the same as before.

Some had been starch supporters of the monarchy and the society as it was and they would be all the fiercer in keeping their opponents at bay.

They in turn became the No. 1 target by the drawn satire and all the more so for having been drawn as such long before the constitution. Back then ridicu…

Drawing From The Other Side

It is high time internet memes were elevated to the place of editorial cartooning, Assistant Professor of Communications (Social Media) at Syracuse University, Jennifer Grygiel, wrote on May 17 on Cartoonists are no longer in touch with the diversity of their beholders. They do not represent the diversity of today's society, just as they fail to address the lives of their beholders.

The "forget all about"-format is threadbare to say the least, and in this case internet memes and cartooning are co-existing on the internet and as such side by side - while editorial cartooning is living a precarious life in the dailies. Cartoonists are more often than not homeless in the traditional sense of cartooning, turning to (the unpaid) social media to publish their work. Here they have found new audiences and we look to the internet when we wish to see some of the best and punchiest of political cartooning in the world today.

But what is of particular interest …


Cartooning is defined by inquisitive freedom in the words of Musa Kart as he laid out in his statement at the trial last April against him and six of his colleagues at the daily Cumhuriyet. They lost their appeal in February. Last week he was seized and taken back to prison.

Allegations, trials and convictions are the language of silencers. Let us work against the silencing of his voice. Let his name be known by everyone. Let us shout out his right to inquire, to be critical and to be free and share the # in his name by Cartooning for Peace and Cartoonists Rights Network International::


Speaking of the Dead

A former president was about to be arrested for accusations of receiving bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. When a prosecutor arrived with the police at his house, he fatally shot himself in the head.

So... what type of story is this? Is Alan Garcia the victim, as he declared himself in a purported suicide note refusing the humiliation and misery from political "enemies"? The very notion of his death would by some place him as an untouchable such as by fellow former corrupt presidents of this world, along with a number of darkened souls or bored ones immediately coming out of the wood work when Bonil drew the cartoon above, crying "Upset! Uproar!"

We know the drill and in terms of noise level it is efficient. So is it relevant, or rather the right thing to do to draw him posthumously?
Alan Garcia declared himself the victim, but do we have to take his word for it? His death was in direct line of how he governed his life. His death happened d…

It Has Been Completed

Yes! Yes, of course! This is a cartoon completing an image and all the more forceful for not straying from its original content. An image known so well that the original is all but depleted of content, but Angel Boligán proves the strength of cartooning that there is always a new layer and another angle to a subject. 
The punch in the precision of his cartoon is hitting us all the stronger in that The Second Adam was always meant to be executed and his life taken by the powerful; the two forces that are creating the axis before us on the picture place. 
That Second Adam just makes for a backdrop to their deal, leaning outwards and away.
Job done. The prophecy has been fulfilled. Humankind has but to voice with the crucified: 

"Why have you forsaken me?"

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Angel Boligán and must not be reproduced.

Vigilant and Barking

A concentrated 3/4-profile self-portrait is how we always meet the artist exposing their inner strengths and weaknesses and just as the great cartoon will create life with just four lines, Pedro X. Molina has defined the anatomy of what the cartoonist does in just four lines too:

"A colleague has said: "We cartoonists are like guard dogs at night, we bark at EVERYONE who seems suspicious to us. Three out of four times it will be a squirrel or a cat, but that fourth time it will be a thief or a murderer". This is exactly it, YES! I am a DOG... and will continue to be one."

The cartoonist may be distracted by the noise of the day, but when the villains are nailed, it is so worth the barking that may have gone before.

Guard dogs are protectors. They react on a background of something grander beyond their own being. Humankind and its rights to live, first and last.

In this we have proof of why cartooning is not limited within its national borders. References are local…

This Is Not A President

- and as of yesterday, Bouteflika has at long last stepped down as the president of Algeria.
Stepping down is overstating it. He was wheelchair-bound and largely unseen and unheard in public from a stroke long before his present term. He was about to announce his fifth term, when enough was enough for the Algerians. The present wheelchair created by Amine Labter in 2017 was not directed at the wheelchair-bound in general. This was a specific situation in which the president was a useful prop for those actually in power. It is placed at a 3/4-angle full-scale portrait, yet it is empty and just a shadow, just as his presidency.
A portrait takes on an reality of the one portrayed, and had the not not been part of the statement, it would have been a provocation in itself, speaking in blunt terms. The presence of the NOT made it a situation of anger and call for action. And now art provoking reality has become reality.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Amine Labter and must not be reproduc…

What Mad Pursuit?

The tales of the old gods - the Nordic and Greek alike - were on to something.

They speak of a number of gods of which some may be generally better behaved than others, but at some point each of them will reveal themselves to be spiteful, often vengeful, taking it out on the humans in the middle of it all.

Those were tales that explain our world today. While we look to one side mourning the terrorist act against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, another takes place in Utrecht, the Netherlands. We know and have seen already that extremist viewpoints will jump to take advantage of both massacres while the humans pay the prize.

Khalid Albaih has made the game as clear-cut as the wasp-waisted and sharp shouldered figures on a Grecian urn. The players bring elegance and beauty to the game while ignoring the results of their actions piling up into the usefulness of a net.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Khalid Albaih.

To be continued

We will wait here while God of all Christian varieties search for proof on the original order from where today's legislation is formed around the world deciding on the female body.

Cintia Bolio goes right to the roots of the explanation exposing its shaky grounds from that place of honor usually reserved for the Only Son. Let the situation be seen that norms and their legislation is a major reason in today's world why complications from pregnancy and childbirth is the No. 1 cause of death among 15 to 19 year-old girls. 
Let their sacrifice be seen. Let their pain and death be known, and while God searches on, let us mark March 8 as the day for change to influence all days going forward. There is a lot to be done: Have a great International Women's Day!

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Cintia Bolio and must not be reproduced.

Cartooning 1:1

"Authoritarian regimes, dictators, despots are often, but not always, fools" are the words that open the new and MASTERFUL collection of essays and speeches The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison.
Fools have no shame. They operate in plain sight. 
From the time Trump was declared president-elect it has been stated that cartoonists proof their being of no value by drawing as some did the fool we all see anyway. Such cartoons may help him when his supporters feel indignant insisting on being right in backing him. It is a point used to drive home the fruitlessness of cartoons. They are not inspired, nor do they inspire. 
However. Cartoonists have drawn Drumpf and his fellow autocrats and despots of this moment - Maduro, al-Bashir, bin Salman, Ortega, Duterte, Erdogan, Kim and Putin - in a variety of inspired and less inspired works. The un-inspired ones too have their value. 
By replicating the fool in a 1:1 ratio the autocrat is affirmed for what he is. 
The first rule of…

The Face of Corruption

Type signifies a general form and is as such a center of attention for the Encyclopedia Cartooniensa. Type should not to be mistaken for its subgenus "stereotype", and in fact it is through type we discover the subtlety of cartooning at its best.

Such as a specimen of fashionable society 113 years ago.

He is an airhead showing off new money rather than content. Specimens of his type can be found everywhere, indeed 113 years later we recognize him as a specific person of the name Trump or in legalese Individual-1.

The drawn character before us is defined by the emptiness of his eyes. Add to this the haughtiness of his posture, puffing up himself and with arms closed before him to underline his righteousness.

In that latter detail was his punch line of which the original exchange by an unknown writer underneath the cartoon is not worth repeating. The couple is commenting on a divorce among their acquaintance. The cartoon appeared in a special edition on modern divorce in the s…
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...