Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Those Diabolical Caricatures

In this case not the ones on paper or the screen. The protesters against the regime in Nicaragua are caricatures of human life, according to Rosario Murillo, Vice-President and thus co-aggressor against those same protesters.

Between 322 and 481 are dead. Those numbers are already a week old. Add to this the thousands of wounded, not to mention the detained being tortured.

So the physical violence is backed by her verbal violence useful for creating a case for striking back at the protesters. They have been called every catchphrase within the domain of evildoers and nothings, such as vampires and menials. She then flung out cat skinners, as in persons of no significance socially and economically, having to eat cats to stay alive.

Pedro X. Molina drew her as a skinned cat:

Pedro X. Molina, "Skinned Cats!" September 11, 2018.

There may or may not have been a correlation, but the timeline makes it likely that it was in direct response to the cartoon above that she declared the population for caricatures.

If so, she was revealing herself that she had seen the cartoon above and that it hurt. It struck right as it was intended.

Pedro X. Molina, The Madness of the Empress, September 17, 2018.
"Caricature! You are all a caricature!!"
Her response was to forget her claim of being a poet and just throw caricature back out there in the No you are more! when children lack words.

Again she was drawn. This time she was a classical caricature, where the first one was an allegory on the political situation.

Each time in a 1:1 exposure to the beholder, facing us directly. Pedro X. Molina is working in a literal sense, giving her the shape and form of her own words.

This is how the noise screen of the responsible looks in visual form.

To paraphrase Molina, who said it so precisely himself: a caricature exaggerates a reality to make it more obvious. In the case of the protesters, it is their loyalty to their country and on the side of the oppressors their lunacy.

He exaggerated and he was SEEN.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Pedro X. Molina and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Rebels Needed

Serena Williams lost the finale of the US Open to Naomi Osaka a week ago. Since then we have had a number of cartoons showing her throwing a tantrum with the Mark Knight-one getting most of the attention.

We know the drill. It gets the pink skinned righters out of the woodwork shouting WHAT I AM DRAWING IS MY RIIIIIIIGHT!!!!!

It is.

Having the right to is not synonymous with cartooning worth its name, nor should it be for that matter. Let us instead turn to the matter of drawing the tantrum in that it involved three thick prejudices:

1. Women are hysterical
2. Women are hysterical and consequently not professional
3. African-American women are hysterical and consequently not professional

Cintia Bolio, Alice Rebelling, 2016.
Thick prejudice involves no thinking. The cartoonist just needs to scratch himself and they crawl out. Did he even draw her before and if not, did he wait until she fit into his image of the world? What was it to the story that made it worth drawing in the first place? Was this the vital angle to the story?

The real question in this situation was: Why was it painful to see the reaction of Serena Williams on the day?

It was her words drawing in implications, where they had no being.

Serena Williams happens to have an instrument in both areas of her life's work with the same outline. She has been a rebel on behalf of women and girls in sport as in life proving that change is possible. She has been breaking new ground, holding it high while batting right back at those opposing her work. She is inspiration and direct action in one for the new generations.

She will continue to be important with so much more to do and we know she will.

Khalid Albaih placed a cartoon on the social media intended for an upcoming publication in which she is at her highest. Her muscle tone is catching the highlight.

The difference between the actual situation and the cartoon caught that exact pain of the day.

That is drawing at her level.

She has been undaunted. She is a rebel daring to think anew, just as Alice in Wonderland steps right into that strange structure that is life to question every corner of it.

Khalid Wad Albai, September 11, 2018.

Representation is important, as Khalid affirmed.

Representation for the young to take inspiration from just as it is important in cartooning. What do you want from making your cartoon?

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Cintia Bolio and Khalid Albaih and must not be reproduced without their permission.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

What Can I Do?

- What can I do to make this world a better place? What can we do to help?

Three students came up to Khalid Albaih after his artist talk at his exhibition at Kulturværftet in Helsingør.

The day after Khalid was speaking at RUC, Roskilde University, upon which he received a message from one of the students naming it an "eye opening talk":

"It really touched me. It has certainly inspired me to try and make a difference in the world for people who have it much harder than myself, in instances that you demonstrated today"

And the message went on to specify:

"I must admit that I am guilty of dehumanising the experience of refugees, not consciously, but just because of how it is portrayed in the media like you said today. That is definitely something that I am going to actively change". 

This is it, such is the significance of cartooning at its best.

When at its best, it has means of changing our perception of the world and doing so to one person at a time. Cartooning at its best does the opposite of seducing and silencing the masses. Each of the beholders above was engaged and inspired to act.

Through the way they described their reaction, we learn how the cartoons by Khalid made a difference: Complex matters too difficult to take in, had been transformed into a graspable cluster before them of the what, how and why of an issue. They had gained information, which they described as gaining lucidity.

In art history we discuss seeing-in and seeing-as (as in recognizing or imagining something already known). This is seeing-through. Seeing through not in the sense of the cartoon having no value of its own, but in its creating translucency into something too massive or scary/sad to focus on. It is the meeting-point for a complex matter to be reflected upon and from which can emanate action.

 That is the recipe for change and the medium was the cartoon.

Khalid Albaih, The Perfect Arab Citizen, April 5, 2011.

And Khalid's answer to the young?

- Be present in your life. Do what you can in what is right before you.

As his equally fearless colleague Doaa Eladl answered at a conference earlier this year: You focus on the elephant. That is an excuse for doing nothing. Focus on each step at a time.

Monday, 9 July 2018

The Unfakable

Khalid Albaih at the graffiti wall of the exhibition, the cartoons dirtied up
as they would be outside. With Jens Nüchel Petersen, July 5, 2018.
Photo: Niels Larsen.

"We Were Perfect", view from the exhibition at
the Library at Kulturværftet in Elsinore.
Photo: LCL.
Even before we opened Khalid Albaih's exhibition We Were Perfect at the Library at Kulturværftet in Elsinore (Helsingør), the exhibition had its first visitor.

A young refugee from the Syrian regime, his wide-eyed reaction, when being told that the artist was present before him was the best moment of the evening. His eyes told the story of the presence of Khalid's work too since 2011.

Running through one room of the exhibition is a "graffiti wall" a giant paper wall with dirtied up prints as they would have been seen stenciled on walls in Tahrir Square, Cairo and in Beirut. They were likewise brought on to the streets when demonstrating against regimes, or against the handling of refugees in Australia, and first and foremost they have gone viral on smart-screens in the Arab world as in the West.

The original of the cartoon is at any given instance the publicized one. In this case its publication took place in all of its formats, size and materials. We may speak of a first apparition on the screens, but the constitutive properties are not ephemeral, nor are they transitory. On the contrary, in each of their configurations, his works are fully there as he intended.

"We Were Perfect", view from the exhibition at the Library at Kulturværftet
in Elsinore. Photo: LCL.

"We Were Perfect", view from the exhibition at
the Library at Kulturværftet in Elsinore.
Photo: LCL.
The word is authoritative.

The artworks of Khalid are as clear-cut in form as they are in meaning. A luminous background onto which is a clear-cut graphic element. Simple, yet detailed. They address the specific in laying out a situation, while insisting on the intellectual curiosity of their beholders to think for themselves in everything they hear and do.
"We Were Perfect", view from the exhibition at
the Library at Kulturværftet in Elsinore.
Photo: LCL.

Khalid's objective was understood given it was taken to the streets in the call for change from the noise of despots doing their damnedest to undermine every instance of calm to think.

"Fake" has been a despotic buzzword these years in their adoption of what Orwell termed doublethink, to reach the point were nothing is - well, where nothingness reigns. Contrary to this we have the unfakable of the realm of art, as termed by the philosopher of aesthetics, Nelson Goodman.

Goodman would not have approved of the authoritative manifold of the unique, but then he wrote before there was such a thing as an image being printed on equally excellent appliances across the globe.

Our first visitor came back moments later with his best friend, who originates from Ethiopia. Two friends from two continents accentuating a body of work, which in turn is the embodiment of the poet Maya Angelou:

I go forth alone, and stand as ten thousand.

The local graffiti wall by the library at Kulturværftet,
so of course there is an invitation to find inspiration inside.
Photo: LCL.

The Exhibition We Were Perfect at the Library of Kulturværftet, Elsinore/Helsingør. It opened last Thursday and runs until September 27, 2018.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Monument of Shame

Bonil, Trees of Death, by Rosario Murillo and Daniel Ortega,
July 4, 2018.

It is a monument of the atrocities taking place in Nicaragua. Constructions of steel around Managua, designed by Rosario Murillo, wife of president Daniel Ortega. As trees go, these produce no oxygen and can as such be no symbol of life.

Each of the killed embodies the Nicaraguan flag. The full story is before us.

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

The Moral Case of Cartoonist vs. President

Did I just read that? Surely I read wrong?

Correa, the former president of Ecuador has a warrant of arrest on his head.

Bonil, July 4, 2018:
- Walking alert (a leftist cry on a victorious Bolívar through Latin America)
- of Bolívar's sword?
- No, the red alert of Interpol

Interpol has been alerted to have him extradited from Belgium. Belgium is apparently the new haven for political leaders on the run. The Catalan separatist leader escaped extradition from Belgium too only little over a month ago.

Responsibility is but a word of fashion, according to Correa. Now it is there, now it is not.

Correa has done anything in his power, rallying week after week, using every means of his presidential power to undermine the freedom held in the constitution against Bonil and his colleagues. Bonil was singled out time after time in court as in the rallies mentioned, hearing his person and cartoons harassed in a tone, which might have been a suggestion of... violence? Surely verbal violence, which might have escalated even further. Bonil was denied his personal and citizen rights on every level and for every bit of that burdensome and dangerous road, Correa is responsible. Responsible in the present tense.

Correa the Escapist. We know already that he will do anything to avoid facing his own deeds. His life is as cushioned as Bonil's is not. Bonil has been called to answer for his cartoons and he answered. Being answerable is the very definition of acting responsibly.

Of every word with which we characterize Bonil, Correa is his opposite. Bonil has spine, showing courage and using his sharp intellect. He analyses the world with love and humor, creating understanding one cartoon at a time to make this world a better place.

Correa is a whimpering blob of vanity.

The words above have been all about Bonil and that is how it should be.

- Oh, and by the way: It is the Fourth of July in the US. Belgium may be seeing Trump hopefully sooner than later. Sorry, Belgium!

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

Sunday, 1 July 2018

How To Lose The Moral Right to Govern

Pedro X. Molina, June 2018.
The national outcry:

HEAR US! Every cartoon from Pedro X. Molina right now is meant to hurt our eardrums. The volume turned to maximum is everything cartooning, or art for that matter, is not supposed to be and for that very reason the message is all the stronger.

To sum up the Nicaraguans plight, president Daniel Ortega has responded with violence against demonstrations protesting his politics. According to the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights at least 285 are dead and 1500 injured. By June 25.

Pedro X. Molina, June 2018.
Hors d'oeuvre...
- My men have orders not to shoot!

The salivating Ortega has been turned into not just any beast, but one prepared to clamp down on critique against him. The bullet bars for teeth speak of preparation. In other words, Ortega embodies the problem; he is the problem.

He is as much a roaring noise as his moral counterpoint above, the pietà of desperation. The profound inner sorrow is wrought out to a collective outcry of desperation, desperate too to be heard. In the confrontation of sound, we have their respective stations.

Pedro X. Molina, October 9, 2015.
Please note the date and year: 2015.
- If you think...
- That this is "violence"...
- ... and this is "peace"...
- Then you are simply not thinking.

Pedro X. Molina, June 2018.
The section of the Constitution in which it is stated
that armed paramilitaries are unconstitutional.
Pedro X. Molina already was a cartoonist speaking in direct terms. Direct as in laying out object-by-object, never details, but each element alongside the next element to let it be known what is taking place.

We are in court in his cartoons and the prosecution is laying out the evidence, all of which is adding up. The Constitution and the soiling of it is a central exhibit to the case.

He is calling for judgment before us: This is not a war. This is a massacre by an armed state that kills its unarmed citizens, in his own words. He draws the moral verdict written in the citizens' own blood to NOT commit a revenge murder of Ortega and wife, but to their being removed from power, since they refuse to do themselves:

Pedro X. Molina, June 2018.

Pedro X. Molina asks of you all to distribute his cartoons as widely as possible to let the situation of Nicaraguans be known.

Friday, 29 June 2018


Ter-ror-te-guism (org. terrorteguismo, 2018) noun, the alliance of terror and the president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega 1. The present political situation in Nicaragua, where citizens, children included, are being shot and killed 2. The arming of militant groups acting as snipers, carrying out random killings of citizens 3. Impunity for everyone ordering or acting with violence against the citizens 4. The danger of all of the aforementioned to the Nicaraguans going forward. 

Pedro X. Molina, June 2018.

As exemplified by Pedro X. Molina, hope is troubled going forward. The tree of life is no longer a living one, but one made in a metal design by Ortega's wife. The death caravans with their masked men embody the old tales of the carretas nahuatl, the rumbling ghostly carts in the street at night, which everyone must take care never to see. Anyone who dares to sneak a glimpse will be gone in the morning. 

We recognize the ghostly cart from recent embodiments as well as of old. This carreta nahuatl has Ortega for driver. As random as the terror is once weapons are in the wrong hands, the carreta has a first beginning.

Pedro X. Molina asks of you all to distribute his cartoons as widely as possible to let the situation of Nicaraguans be known.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

A Tale Of Four Images

Khalid Wad Albaih, August 18, 2016.

The trouble with imagery sharing a compositional resemblance is that most of the time we cannot establish, whether it may have been mental laziness on the copyist's part or that they are sharing their time and age and are as such each of them part of the larger picture.

It may be that the artist was taking up the inspiration found from another, which makes it proof how inspirational the first image turned out to be. The artist next in line was waiting for the right moment to make his or her own version. 

In the present case this is a story of four images so far.

The first two ones centered on the situation of Syrian children. All too painfully known photos on the little drowned Aylan Kurdi and Omran Daqneesh taken to an ambulance from beneath the rubbles of Aleppo following Russian air strikes. 

Khalid Albaih each time created his version within the first hours of their photos being published, stripping the children of the scenery in which they were photographed as if stark cut-outs and placing them on a stark luminous background by which he created a direct confrontation with the beholder. A situation needs to be changed and responsibility must be placed. 

Omran confronting Putin proved not as popular as the one of the two children. The press, ever terrified of not appearing neutral - Ahem! - emphasizes the one below, which in turn went viral. This is the one, whose own artist worries every time he sees it in social media feeds, knowing there will be new, horrific news. It has taken on a life of its own:
Khalid Wad Albaih, August 18, 2016.

This week Time Magazine published this cover on Trump made to face his own doings, separating children and toddlers from their parents at the borders, without till now even securing a minimum of organization to make it possible for the parents to have their children back: 

@time: #welcometoamerica, June 21, 2018.

Trump never face responsibilities of any kind; let us be honest, so Khalid Albaih responded to the cover by adding another layer to it. By the time the cover was published, Melania Trump had boarded a flight to Texas with THAT jacket with the impossible-to-overlook all capital lettering I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?

But not just that. Military personnel have been added to keep the child from even being seen. The total ignorance of the scene. The uniformed are mere shadows of human life.

Khalid has added the danger, of which the girl is the visualization, just like Omran and Aylan.

The little girl is exposing the autocracy already at play in the official US. This is The Land of the Unfree.

Khalid Albaih, End of Times, June 23, 2018.

Khalid Albaih publishes his khartoons under a Creative Commons license.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

The Immeasurable: The Heart

Angel Boligán, The Wrong Needle, May 30, 2012.

An organ and a symbol, which presumably is threadbare, nevertheless it is fresh and relevant every time we see it. There is such fresh pain in the attempt of sewing it back together above. The frailty of love is given a visual presence through the coarseness of what love is not - yet striving to succeed as embodied in the vertiginous perspective of the arm.

Angel Boligán, The Blacksmith,
July 3, 2016.
The organ, other words, which is key to the what, where and why of human life. No Anatomia Cartooniensa would be true to itself without it.

The curious thing about the shape of the heart is that it has two equally established configurations.

We have for one the symmetrical one above, mirroring itself along a central axis, which at once speaks of harmony, i.e. said symmetry, and its vulnerability, when broken along its axis.

To the right its counterpart gives the vertiginous arm an impossible task of its own, this time reason disciplining the anatomical heart. This one has been about since artists were explorers of pathology and would have held an actual heart in their own hands.

Leonardo, because of course he did, drew his about 1511-13 and even if the exact function of the heart was not yet known, interestingly the anatomical heart have been drawn more or less exactly like this ever since, with the stumps of coronary arteries, suggesting connection or severance according to the situation.

Marilena Nardi, December 9, 2016.

The anatomical heart has a history of being the complicated one of the two. It is a working, pumping organ, even or all the more so when severed, and its mere presence is a sign of trouble.

Angel Boligán, The Eternal Border
July 17, 2011.
It is the tormentor. It draws us to insanity until we are transparent and withered. No outer movement is taking place above in this the most intense of dramas, draining her of life. A semblance of a light in her eye unable to see anything is fixating us from our knowing her demise only too well.

We are damned whatever we do. The migrant shall forever be connected and yet severed; the borderline cutting through his own body.

In all of this, and what we recognize as spectators, is the sincerity of the heart in its struggles. It has an element of purity to it in spite of being the organ on the physicality of human emotional life.

The heart remains untainted and has the right to do so even when yelled at by superiors. Since The Nürnberg Trials it is obligated in fact, so that soldiers shall follow their own conscience, and soldiers are in a situation where they are not even defined to act as humans.

Angél Boligán, The Sound of Sanity, March 2, 2012.

Cartooning has a strong element of analysis to it and naturally so, but exaggeration has its own level of precision. It uncovers the drama of human life to the point of its breaking point - the distortion, the severance, the demise - each time worth a five-hour long opera.

Our hearts are meant to broken, as Oscar Wilde consoles us.

Marilena Nardi, The Affliction of Love, June 2, 2016.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Marilena Nardi and Angel Boligán and must not be reproduced without their permission.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

The Immeasurable: The Mind

Marilena Nardi, The Stab, June 14, 2017.

"The wing is the corporeal element which is most akin to the divine", Plato wrote.

Marilena Nardi, September 18, 2017:
Madness too deserves its applause.
THEY, who have understood and dared go beyond themselves will feel the itching of wings growing on their backs.

Wings are grown of the lover, the philosopher, the artist. The soul which has seen most of truth. The place home to the gods and otherwise so dangerous to come to near for their jealousy of competition. Theirs is the power to stab that scraggly human left in the dark.

It is of never ending amazement to the Anatomia Cartooniensa that we have an actual corporeal element on the human ability to think, to reflect and know passion into one. A piece of anatomy, which sweeps the hitherto earth-destined off the ground, yet remains physical of nature. The wings expand to the being, first announcing their presence by the itching of their growing pains. At no time do they take on an ethereal state.

This is a fact, which accentuates the very real capability of the brain as a place for immeasurable expansion. Aching to transgress and to explore, it develops beyond the personal point of view. It is playful, and it may be painful. It is one of possibility and change. Such is the mind at its best, urging on itself.

Angél Boligán, Information, December 10, 2010.

Plato made clear, though, that wings are a corporeal element that has to be earned. It is not for everyone.

Marilena Nardi, World Press Freedom Day,
 May 3, 2016.
Which make wings all the more undesirable for those, who refuse to see beyond themselves and the very reason, why wings are so prominent in cartooning: Their precious nature are less about those who lose their wings themselves through the loss of passion, than other mortals locking them up.

Wings are freedom of thought if not freedom of speech too, in that they share their visual features with speech bubbles growing from a certain point on the body and expanding from there, while reflecting on something, even just or most importantly throwing out a question mark.

"When words are pinned down they fold their wings and die", Virginia Woolf said. Words too live in freedom, constantly changing their meaning. Even the specific elements to thinking and talking insist on their freedom having wings of their own.

And so, when the demagogues choose to lock up words, thoughts and the winged, the cartoonist acknowledges their nature by drawing them in a birdcage. Even in captivity they are recognized for their position among humans.

Marilena Nardi, Restless Chimera, October 1, 2017.

Gods are dangerous specimens to play with. We may never know when they turn against us, but that is part of the enchantment of growing wings. They may end up being torn off, but oh, so worth it in the unruly life that is ours. The birdcage on the other hand is the orderliness of vertical bars that life is not. And most barbaric of all, the scissors.

Angel Boligán, Mutilated Freedom, December 28, 2011.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Marilena Nardi and Angel Boligán and must not be reproduced without their permission.

Monday, 28 May 2018

The Immeasurable: The Soul

Marilena Nardi, From the series "The Gloom", December 9, 2016.

Do we have a soul?

That we cannot answer scientifically. Indeed science may be the wrong place to be asking from, according to the artists before us. The calculating eye will see a fission taking place. The release of energy, when cleaving into parts.

That is, however, only half the story. The one part will be invisible. The other shall perish. That is too neat to define life.

Xawery Dunikowksy, The Soul Escaping the Body, 1918, at Królikarnia.
Photo by Niels Larsen, May 2018.

Life is in the fusion. The pain of opposites; amalgamated by high temperatures and made present by the dirty laws of gravitational pressure.

The separation while fighting for union, or the fission of fusion, is an explanation fully graspable in artistic terms. Impossible to be explained, it is right there before us in the fight for form.

Marilena Nardi, October 20, 2012.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Marilena Nardi and must not be reproduced without her permission.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Sometimes All Is Right

Zunar, Malaysian News, May 15, 2018.
The opposition released from prison, where Najib placed them,
 to take on the new leadership after the election.
Najib and his wife are in turn on their way to (eventual) prison.

Sometimes it happens. Sometimes the world becomes just a little bit of a better place even if it seems almost too good to be true, when the right and the good are proven to be right and good.

The travel ban against Zunar is now placed on the former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor. They fell from power following the general election this month and are now under investigation for their billion-dollar scale fraud. They are likely to be indicted, to put it politely.

Let us just take a sentence out to note that this Malaysian reality is a warning to other demagogues:

Zunar, Transformations! May 15, 2018.

Zunar, March 14, 2018.
- all of the protagonists weighing down the citizen.
 - and let us on this blog highlight him, whose courage for years have placed him in a position, where we worried for his safety and livelihood and yet he did not hesitate.

When Zunar was the most pressured, he had the mental strength to continually change his approach to make the highest impact, such as in light of the general election to place his focus on what the fraud meant to the citizens in their daily life.

Najib is drawn without any interest in his own person. He is a type. Zunar created him, his wife and their fellow fraudulent characters into archetypes of a mythology on greed and abuse of power. The bling-carat ring took on a life of its own too. The fraudsters in power created a normalcy as the official faces of Malaysia, and Zunar let them be seen for what they were actually doing.

In later years there has been a recurring academic debate whether we can even measure the impact of imagery in public spaces. That any talk of impact is a rosy-nostalgic fiction created in the aftermath on images that were just out there in the noise of daily life, perhaps noticed, but hardly seen and not enough to even begin to speak of any effect. The debate is but one approach to the age-old smirk at imagery, but let us just point to last week's affirmation by the former Director of US National Intelligence, James Clapper that the Drumpf had not won the 2016-presidential election had it not been for the work of the Russians. It is just the one indicator on how influence works, but let us accentuate that influence has presence and it can go either way.

Zunar's mythology unfolded corruption so that corruption had a place to be seen for its true apparition.

He was so intellectually astute that he continually developed and even changed his focus, such as placing the perspective on the rakyat, the Malaysian people, when he felt it was time to do so. His was never a one-eyed intention; it was a highly creative composing a mythology, however the sad fact that it had a reality. It never turned into a vendetta.

Zunar, September 2016
- a prediction on what is now a reality.
Anwar and Mahathir are at long last the new political leaders.

As always with the cartoons of Zunar: Please, let them be seen as far and widely as possible and in particular: please spread the good news in case it shall make other demagogues concerned.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Touched By The Muses' Madness

Mohamad Kraytem, Morning, 2018, page 1 of 4.

For the sake of creating art, this artist puts his own life at risk going all in or maybe we should say all out, or to be more specific and in the words of Plato, he experiences the "touch of the Muses' madness in his soul". 

Since long before Plato we have been discussing what drives the human inspiration. Divine intervention, perhaps, such as from the Muses, while later ages would point to chemical substances such as absinthe or opium, but whatever the reason for hallucinating or passing downright out, the line of thought was each time to explain the ability of the artist to transcend their human frame and create something of value beyond their own time and place. 

In the present case the ingredients are the ones presented above: A pen, a cup and some hot liquid to which is added a piece of music.

The liquid is coffee, the music Black Coffee by Black Flag, which if you click the link in the name will take you to the music while seeing the present comic, and the one leading us into hallucinating is Mohamad Kraytem, who created the four-page comic at a workshop at the American University in Beirut earlier this spring. 

This would not be Mohamad if he did not take us directly into the impossibility of the turn of the tale. In this case from the enjoyment of beginning a day of work with its chain of preparations to the total eruption as overwhelming to take in as it is to the one acting it all out, before... but, first things first. It is time to brew that coffee and get to drawing:

Mohamad Kraytem, Morning, 2018, page 2 of 4.

Mohamad Kraytem, Morning, 2018, page 3 of 4.

"STAB through my heart..."

Mohamad Kraytem, Morning, 2018, page 4 of 4.

The comic is courtesy of Mohamad Kraytem and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Three Years and Nine Months

That is the prison sentence given Musa Kart this week.

In total 14 journalists, editors, board members and chairs of the paper Cumhuriyet were given prison sentences ranging from seven years to little over three years.

They were charged with terrorism, i.e. for being in liaison with Fethullah Gülen and PKK as a convenient cover for shutting down their critical voices.

Musa Kart wrote a beautiful manifest on the nature of the cartooning voice after the initial round of the trial, in which he was released from prison - he and his colleagues first entered the courtroom from prison after having been arrested at their office and thrown behind bars.

We are now waiting for the verdict from the appeal.

Even describing the above is reeking with sickness of despotism that is the reality of Erdogan, so without further ado Fadi ToOn on the new Turkish flag:

Fadi Abou Hassan/Fadi ToOn, July 24, 2017:
The New Turkish Flag - My Solidarity with Musa Kart.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Fadi Abou Hassan/Fadi ToOn and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Strategically Lying

So... considering the Malaysian government has put into law the limitation of critical reflection in public space while calling it a need to halt lying taking place ... Who lies, or more to the point, who lies strategically?

Bonil, April 17, 2018: Throwing out rumours.

Bonil has placed two bombs identically on the picture plane, but heading in each their direction while highlighting the two sides of strategically lying.

History proves to us that when bad journalism takes place it is just that - bad journalism - while poisonous press coverage or actual propaganda is found where it is backed by institutions or is itself institutionalized as an organ of a despotic or despotic adjacent rule.

The strategically throwing out rumors tend to be accompanied by another kind of bomb of the problems which are willfully neglected or stem from lack of concern for their long term implications. An "after" has no place to this mindset.

We recognize the situation from all too many places, but consider the sentence above "Bonil has placed two bombs". That is the act of a directly speaking cartoonist pointing to two opposite sides of the same problem, while hiding behind no institutions.

Bonil, April 17, 2018: The displaced... An eventual bomb?

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Bonil and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Monday, 16 April 2018

The Anti-Fake News Act 2018

Zunar, October 2017.
Zunar's drawn autobiography leading up to this year.
They have attempted to chain him through charges of "sedition" still looming,
but by doing so they chained him to his working chair.
His brain signaling to his arm to keep drawing.

Zunar, March 14, 2018.
All the elements of the overt corruption,
from the money-grapping to the luxury
spending into the one criminal bundle.

In December 2017 Zunar spoke about a new focus in his work. He would show the direct impact, which the corruption of the government has in the daily life of the Malaysians. To wit, the rakyat, the people to the right has been turned into Atlas, carrying on his back the excesses of those in power.

Zunar's words highlighted his strength of mind considering his work is continuously sought eliminated by the ban on his leaving the country, the ban on his books and the ban against his being published, not to mention his exhibitions being removed, whenever his cartoons are shown.

Zunar, August 18, 2017: We Are All The Same
The stones around their necks stating that the prices of goods are rising,
as is petrol, customs, the price on milk increasing and on diapers.
So while we are continuously concerned about his situation, he decided to go in a new direction in his cartoons. This way he is seeing to that Prime Minister Najib Razak and his 22-carat pink diamond-ring wearer of a wife, not to mention their associates shall not turn into icons. Popular demand wants to see what her ring is up to today in Zunar's cartoons, but the spotlight must stay on the menace to democracy that their actions represent.

Then came April 3 and the Anti-Fake News Act 2018.

Zunar, December 4, 2017.
- Go and get it!

Presidents with anti-democratic tendencies worldwide use the term as a diversionary tactic from their daily doings. The former Ecuadorean President Correa would call it lying, lamenting, how he could not govern due to all of the "lying" taking place. Critical scrutiny is thus labeled "stories", as in being fabricated. Lately the term has been "fake news". Malaysia became the country to formalize the term, turning it into law, with the expectation that the Philippines and Cambodia shall follow.

Zunar, March 28, 2018.
On top is a critic, while the other is the pervasive one, protected by law
His wife's finger is pointing directly at the critic.

Any person, who "maliciously creates, offers, publishes, prints, distributes, circulates or disseminates any fake news..." can be sentenced to a maximum of six years of imprisonment.

The law formulates fake news as an empty term, as we would expect. Yet, "maliciously" is defined as "capable of suggesting words or ideas". Anything creating food for thought, in other words.

In that sense the law turns out to be specific in content. Of its intent we were never be in any doubt. We have a word for that. It is censorship.

Zunar, Kick These Fakers Out, March 27, 2018.
The math of the new law in an election year.
To highlight said intent of the law, the government dissolved the parliament three days after its coming into being. It is election year and every step to silence the opposition is being taken.

Oh, and Fake News Act, sorry Anti-Fake, contains an "Extra-territorial application" making it illegal for someone like this blog post to criticize it even outside the borders of Malaysia. Which is a easy fact to brush off for me, but even my writing about it, may trouble the situation of Zunar further.

Such is the situation writing about any cartoonist in trouble, only this time the menace is put into law, giving its intent an air of righteousness. The law made certain that the use of "visuals" was included.

Zunar, The Story of The Cartoonist Zunar,
November 29, 2017.
One struggling dot and it is the black wig of the Prime Ministers wife 

Once again we are in a situation in which a cartoonist is menaced into silence by way of waving the courts before him or her - often for years at a time - and while it seems formal and clean from the outside, it is mental violence.

To which Zunar of course has a visual answer. He has scanned his brain.

It IS indeed mental violence, which is going on. They place themselves in there, censoring any and all thoughts, only in his case, he lets his brain ink out what his brain sees...
Zunar, My Brain Scan, February 8, 2018.

Zunar has declared his cartoons free of copyright to be distributed as far and widely as possible. Please do exactly that, wherever and whenever you all can.

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