Each year, Cartoonists Rights Network International hands out the Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award to a cartoonist in great danger who has demonstrated exceptional courage in the exercise of free speech rights under extraordinary circumstances.
This year, for the first time, the award is given to two women cartoonists. Globally, women only constitute 10% of the political cartooning population. The recipients are Indian cartoonist Kanika Mishra and Palestinian cartoonist Majda Shaheen.
One of Kanika's cartoons, depicting Asaram and his unwillingness to face a narco or polygraph test to prove his innocence.
Indian cartoonist Kanika Mishra, a resident in the city of Mumbai, was selected for her valor and exercise of free speech during a time of great peril. She received numerous threats from followers of a local holy man, Asaram Bapu, who were enraged at the humorous and focused cartoons she drew of his illegal sexual exploits. During this period she received phone calls from Bapu supporters threatening to kill her and her family.
When Kanika got word that popular cult leader Bapu had been accused of raping the 16-year old daughter of two of his followers, she reacted in the most powerful way she could. Four hours after hearing that there was a police manhunt for Bapu, Kanika tweeted and posted to her Facebook page a cartoon tweaking Bapu supporters’ blind faith in their guru. Kanika followed her post with more cartoons, one of him being hauled off to jail.
Reaction to Kanika’s cartoons was immediate. She soon began receiving requests for interviews from India Today and India’s most watched news channel, Aaj Tak. Following the media interest, a groundswell of new threats from Bapu's supporters broke loose. Throughout the siege by Bapu’s supporters she continued to take on Bapu's outrageous hypocrisy through her cartoons.
The award is also given to Palestinian cartoonist Majda Shaheen. In her cartoon, she depicts her view on the relationship between Ismail Haniyeh the senior political leader of Hamas and the Al-Quds Brigades. Angered by the cartoon, the official website of the Al Qud Brigade asked for details regarding her whereabouts in hopes of scaring her and her family. One site featured a picture of someone with the same name, with the word 'Execution' placed on it. Following numerous death threats, Majda Shaheen withdrew the cartoon from her Facebook page.
Majda is a member of Cartoon Movement, you can see more of her work here.
This year’s ceremony will take place on October 11th in San Francisco, California USA during the annual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists from the 9th to the 11th.
Next month, Cartoon Movement will be present at the Americas Latin Eco-Festival, an event that aims to strengthen the voice of the Latino community on issues relating to climate change and environmental justice. The festival takes place in Boulder, Colorado (USA) from 11 to 15 September.
Our contribution is an exhibition titled 'Drawing Attention: Cartoons on the Environment'. It will feature 250 cartoons: an exhibit of 50 physical cartoons and an additional digital presentation of 200 cartoons, bringing together perspectives on sustainability, pollution, resource scarcity and social and environmental justice. A lot of the contributing artists come from Latin America, but there is also space for perspectives from the rest of the world.
Featured most prominently will be the graphic work of Cubal artist Alex Falco Chang, whose bold images do not need words to convey a powerful message.
Some of the cartoons that will be on display at the exhbition, by Falco (Cuba), Pedro X. Molina (Nicaragua), and Chubasco (Mexico).
We're delighted to welcome the first cartoonist from Afghanistan to our community. Mehdi Amini is a 31-year old political cartoonist from Kabul. His work is considered too extreme in a country where freedoms are increasingly restricted and the Taliban has renewed control in some regions, so we are very happy to be able to provide platform for his cartoons.
Next week, we publish chapter 2 of A Century of Silent Helpers, a 50-page comic by Tom Humberstone and Tjeerd Royaards chronicling the history of Cordaid (a catholic Dutch development aid organization), within the broader context of the history of international development aid in the 20th century. The second chapter tells the story of Jos van Mackelenberg, president of a predecessor of Cordaid during World War II, who risked his life to save two Jewish children.
Read chapter one here.
A new week, and three new cartoonists joining Cartoon Movement. They come from Serbia, Russia and India:
Vinod Triphati (aka SpectoonS) is a cartoonist from India, working for E-News portal The Indian Republic. His motto: 'I am not a painter who beautifies the scene with colors, instead I am a photographer who captures things as it is.'
Vladimir Khakhanov is an award-winning artist from Moscow, Russia; he has been a cartoonist since 1976.
We're starting the week with three more cartoonists joining our community: Terry Anderson from Scotland, George Licurici from Romania, and our very first cartoonist from Serbia, Vladimir Volodja Sivtsevich.
Terry Anderson is a professional cartoonist from Glasgow in Scotland. He's also a coordinator for the Scottish Cartoon Studio, and is currently touring Europe with a cartoon exhibition on the Scottish independence referendum. The cartoon shown here is part of that exhibition. Check out his website for more of his work.