Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Lightness

We all knew beforehand that about a week into the #metoo-campaign, a cascade of men would begin lamenting or ridiculing the women and men standing with the #metoo. With the no less expected claim that the latter women and men are the very ones undermining... society.

The truth of the matter is that NO WOMAN does not know what it is to hear the words in the situation drawn by Marilena Nardi such as "You do want your exam, don't you?" or "You do want your book published, don't you?"

As if a choice is involved.

Note the blush of red at the tip of his finger where he asserts his power. While her voice, her say in a matter, which will influence her life, is of the size of her humiliation.

This is cartooning creating the physical reality that reality itself is lacking.

Marilena Nardi, The Lightness, November 24, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Marilena Nardi and must not be reproduced without her permission.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Cartoonists Are The Mothers Of The World

Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini, September 29, 2017.

"I love artists and cartoonists because they are wise with a good nature. I think they are the mothers of the world because their messages could feed people for years. The cartoonists are one of the most important arms of social awareness without any demands". 

The words are by Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini, whom is an Iranian cartoonist living in exile in Turkey. Turkey is a place just as dangerous to him and a petition has been made as call to the UN Secretary General. The petition can be signed here.

Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini, November 4, 2017.

The main part of this post is his own words from a challenge he gave me to challenge him

"I love challenge and concepts. Art is derived from life and its flames have stretched the heavens. We should breathe the feeling into concepts, pencils, love until Zenith to be met as well as God breathe life into human beings. The creation should be up-to-date in order to prevent any forgetfulness. Concept is our common language and the art should be dived into minds if artists do their job well".

From here on I shall let his beautiful words speak for themselves. They are a rare in their clarity on the creation and understanding of life through art. For that reason this post is featuring his cartoons from the past two months on the nib of the cartoonist's pen as the center of existence and the danger that entails to the cartoonist. For one thing, speaking of God:

"The human is the greatest creator. I don’t know why he looks for the creator in the skies". 

"These statements are considered as blasphemy in my country and several times I have used them in my cartoons and work, thus I was threatened and exiled. But how is it possible to make a contrast of birth and death? The distance between these two is avoidance, in my opinion. Avoidance of life, eternity and creation. Avoidance of everything". 

Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini, October 5, 2017.

"Art is a nature of human beings. Life is full of artistic taste. We re-create ourselves every day. We make love and believe in religion. We understand the color and we create it every moment in our eyes as in a loving way as more romantic. We see the lines and transplant it with our feeling. We can find the unforeseen shapes. We can feel the pain because we have experienced the moments of death. We know death because we create reality". 

Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini, October 22, 2017.

"We use a blade to shave, but it can also be used as a means of the greatest stupidities. This is the art of creation. The art of existence in secret. We should blossom through death again and again to realize that art is not separable from the truth. You should know the path, know the style, and should quaff the climax. At that moment you can claim that you are inspired by and from within knowledge, inspired by the sunrise and sunset, by flying and freedom…" 

"Sometimes you need to become a lunatic, but in this world’s term, and then at the peak of the fool's madness, create the finest, purest and the most precious of all and watch it flourish in the world and in the truth and conclude the inspiration. At that moment, you should experience and taste the sweetness and artistic taste of inspiration". 

"Cooperation and group work is basically awesome, but there are times that you reach a point that either the world does not dare to hear the truth or man does not dare to tell the truth. Here is where you become lonely. Suddenly everybody leaves and you become abandoned. I like to work with everyone. I love group work as a way to growth and flourishing". 

Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini, October 5, 2017.

"We are against war because we forget ignorance and we believe in peace because it’s the most inspirational of human dignity. We know the light and we fight darkness. We found ourselves here better. I am inspired from the ultra-reality and I draw whatever I get. This is the bitter truth of the forced exiled. We can pinpoint shapes with the bitter truth and create an image with sarcasm". 

"Cartoons are used in many different ways in the world and each has a definite definition, But I believe that cartooning is the expression of truth in the language of sarcasm". 

Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini, Immortality,
October 30, 2017.

"I have not studied arts and drawing and have not taken any course in this field. I used to scribble when I was child, and my mother took my hand to draw. I came to choose it as my job".

"My mother created me and I created the spirit of art in my mind. Man is a creator, and I feed myself and the world with my creations. I want to immortalize pure ideas as well as I can create and promote them by cartoons". 

"My artistic inspiration derives from the passage of moments. The globe is shouting death, and I immortalize my outcry through my writings and paintings. I believe that pure ideas are precious and our lives should be spent for their sake". 

Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini, Human history will be written on the brave,
October 18, 2017.

"You should close your eyes and flow in the absolute darkness and die. You should observe the talents inside you at the height of disability, wait for the hunt, and in silence and expectation wait for the glow, and then you should follow the path to the blazing star".

"However, I won’t ever be able to reach it, because upon reaching it, either it perishes or I shall perish. What a profound world, everything dies in it except for the moment of beginning. This was how I began drawing".

Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini, November 2, 2017.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Scent of Oranges

Cartoonists tend to diminish their work, "Oh, it is a negative art form, I am always looking for the wrong side of things", as if it is a truism of cartooning. The negativity statement is certainly an old one and difficult to get rid off seeing that on the surface, bad things does get exposed on the picture plane.


Cartooning exercises critical analysis in which negativity has no real home, or to be specific: Pre-determined pros and cons belong to the category of propaganda.

Let us instead tell a tale. A tale of immortal love, even when all hope seems lost.

Sara Qaed, The Scent of Oranges... Morning, October 27, 2017.

Please click on the photo to see the detailing, just as it is meant to be seen from right to left. The latter is of no big consequence, though, since the two belong together in unison.

Sara Qaed has drawn a longing so intense that its impossibility makes it possible from beyond the prison bars. His beloved believing him dead is living in poverty and hunger, their children clinging to her. Just then, while looking at the ribbon of mourning on his portrait, his calling reaches her.

This should be written in the language of poetry, and yet there is no need. It is already here before us.

The mental bond crossing boundaries taking on physical existence, while the scent of oranges speaks of his pain. A soul of this strength can only be of the right sort. With this we are back at critical cartooning at its core, portraying the abuse of power incarcerating what power fears the most. He may not need a ribbon of mourning, but he is still behind vertical bars.

Yet, he is not... with which the circle remains unbroken, proving that within the grand tales on life, cartooning is to be found.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Sara Qaed and must not be reproduced without her permission.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Khalid Albaih

Copenhagen has an ICORN cartoonist / Fribytegner of its very own. At long last!

Khalid Albaih with his family in Copenhagen, photo: LCL.

It took three? years to get to this point, but what a joy having Khalid and his family as part of our daily life. From a cartooning perspective it means witnessing his working process, which in his case comprises collecting information, not seeking answers, but gathering knowledge, questioning everyone and seeing everything. If you grumble against something he has stated, he will ask you for proof and links to see for himself.

This is still too crude a description: such is how any cartoonist works. What distinguish Khalid's work are his response time and the breadth of his horizon of interest.

If "response time" has an air of a scientific discipline to it, we are getting there description wise: Khalid rides the tide of the news, publishing his cartoons online on that very first surge of interest.

He may add another cartoon hours later on the matter, but that first one is his prime goal. The life of the Internet is the now, and anyone who wishes to have his or her say, has to abide to that fact, as he stresses.

The exercise is proven successful, when a cartoon takes on a life of its own.

To the degree that he is the one, who worries when he sees his own cartoons return as part of the news. Omran and Aylan, caught in a geopolitical game as they are, were coupled to mock the Western mantra of choosing your own life:

Facebook entry by Khalid Albaih on December 15, 2016:
"Every time I this image getting around I know things are at their worse".

The two boys are examples of Khalid Albeih's focus on the image as icon. The iconization of the otherwise random image in the never-ending streaming of images or maybe not so random given it has something, which arrests us and makes us pause; a potential in itself or with a bit of tweaking.

The media iconize the news in the attempt to arrest the user and keep their attention for at least a couple of seconds and as such the attempt is no different from the poster advertisers of a century ago, who would analyze how to catch the interest of the bypasses on the street, such as stripping the surface of the poster down to a title and a large central image with the contrast of no more than two colors.

Clarity and to the point today too, when the street is the screen of the phone. Khalid will strip the central motif off its setting, making it all about the bare elements of recognition. A stream, a seat, the red/blue color contrast of Eylan and the shadowing for blood and dust on Omran. The white in Khalid's works is no longer that of the paper, but the luminosity of the screen. This is not the language of naturalism; this is an image.

The beauty of the starkness is pulling at us. We see, what is not there. The boys before us are no longer boys. We see the need.

We see. Such was another instance of this effect, when Khalid saw the footage of Colin Kaepernick, the US footballer kneeling during the playing of the US national anthem. His hair secured his being seen with a straight back and in spite of his being of half his size while kneeling. Khalid combined him with the black power saluting athletes in 1972, which made Kaepernick the symbol of 300 years of deportation, violence, murder, poverty and lack of citizenship with the quest for respect and change in the 21st century so far.

Kaepernick is drawn fully frontal, playing on the difficulty of presenting him through the foreshortening of his body to accentuate how he is all decidedness in his having had enough. Anyone seen behind this piece of imagery will seem to be taking on his determination: I kneel with him!

And so Khalid's work is to be found on t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and - fittingly - mobile covers, with one copycat claiming to have had the same idea and at least four US and Chinese companies busily applying fresh batches of printed merchandize to the market.

If only the copyright of the cartoonist had been recognized!

Khalid Albaih, September 9, 2017

Khalid Albaih comprises three continents, being born in Romania, a citizen of Sudan and till now living and working in Qatar. His outlook is pan-Arabian just as he has a keen focus on the reactions in the Western world in combination and all to often in clinch with the rest of the globe.

Wherever he is, things happen. It is a privilege to have him in town.

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

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