Monday, 29 April 2019

Speaking of the Dead

Bonil, #alangarcia, April 19, 2019.

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 due to his lack of ability to discern right from wrong. As such his death is a situation of taking stock.

Bonil has made no allusions to the private persona of Alan Garcia. He is drawn as an icon just as he presented himself. Massive and centrally placed, his head is turned away from us mere mortals, insisting on his ethereal status looking far and beyond in the attempt of letting the scandal of Odebrecht evaporate.

We have three parts before us. His portrait. The shot fired by his own hand fleeing justice and the firm frame making certain that while his person shall never be placed before a judge, nor shall his name flee his responsibility. Odebrecht is what he shall be defined by.

Bonil has drawn an obituary and obituaries are an art form.

Obituaries are at their best a piece of brilliant writing, a cenotaph summing up the past while written for the future. This is when a person becomes history and it constitutes the first layer to writing him or her into history. As such they necessarily have bite.

Obituaries have nothing to do with death, but all about life as the New York Times' Margalit Fox has told the Paris Review. As she concluded: Obituaries are the jolliest department of the paper. 

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

Friday, 19 April 2019

It Has Been Completed

Angel Boligán, No Comment, April 14, 2019.

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.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Vigilant and Barking

Pedro X. Molina, March 16, 2019.

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, but the fundamentals of cartooning are inherently international. Pedro X. Molina for one has been as vigilant a critic of the Venezuelan crisis as he has been of the no less dire situation in his native Nicaragua for years.

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

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

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.

Amine Labter, Ceci n'est pas un président, February 8, 2017.

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

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