Many of us are not sad to say goodbye to 2020, in the hope that 2021 will be a better year (check out our cartoon collection here). Before we do bid farewell to a year we will all remember , we bring you one last newsletter from the world of cartooning. All our very best wishes for 2021! And don't forget to subscribe if you would like to receive a monthly update.
Assad Bina Khahi is a cartoonist, animator and graphic designer, originally from Iran, now living in Germany. He worked as a lecturer for animation in the faculty of fine arts at Tehran University and worked as a designer and cartoonist for various daily papers and cartoon journals. He produced several animated movies in Iran as well as in Germany, where he has been living since 1996, working as a freelance artist. Check out his Instagram account to see more of his work.
It has become a tradition to make a top 10 of our favorite cartoons of the year. Because we launched a renewed website during the summer, it is difficult to give exact figures, but in 2020 (as in other years) thousands of cartoons were uploaded to the platform. 238 cartoons were published as editor's choice on our homepage. And of these 238 cartoons, these are the 10 we liked best:
5 years after Charlie Hebdo
On of the first projects of 2020 was about commemorating the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo with cartoons. This cartoon by Engin Selçuk perfectly captures the irreverent spirit of Charlie Hebdo and the tenacity with which they have continued making scathing satire since the attack.
Cuban cartoonist Miguel Morales Madrigal has a way of drawing our planet that has proved very popular. Nearly all of his cartoons that portray the earth as a person (usually undergoing something horrible) are very popular and widely shared on our social media channels. This one is no exception.
'He did it!'
Working from home
For most people the pandemic meant working from home. For those with (young) kids, this proved to be challenging. Editorial cartoons are often a reflection of a certain period in time, and this one by Latvian cartoonist Gatis Sluka is not only funny, it also captures the everyday lives of people during corona.
Democracy is sick too
The virus provided cartoonists with a new tool in their visual toolbox. The iconic shape of the pointy ball was used in countless cartoons, but the pandemic was also fertile ground as a visual reference to address other issues, as ZACH from the Philippines does by using the pandemic to comment on the spread of authoritarian regimes.
Life in lockdown
Lockdown was one of the buzzwords of the year. Osama Hajjaj made this beautiful cartoon, not only illustrating how lockdown felt to many of us, but also how nature could flourish, no longer hindered by humanity.
Death of George Floyd
In May, the death of black man George Floyd by a white police officer (who knelt on his neck, suffocating him) set off a wave of anti-racism protests. Dutch cartoonist Maarten Wolterink made a clever image using the negative space to illustrate how pervasive racism really is.
Simple but oh so funny cartoon by Marian Kamensky about Boris Johnson, the EU and a Brexit deal.
Since we will likely be publishing a lot less Trump cartoons next year, we'll include one more in this top 10, this one drawn by Leopold Maurer after Trump was declared recovered from the coronavirus.
The final cartoon of our top 10 was published just last week. Swedish cartoonist Max Gustafson perfectly shows that the pandemic is not the great equalizer some have called it.
We wish you all a wonderful and safe Christmas and all the very best for 2021. No matter what the new year brings us, we'll continue to provide the visual commentary that makes you laugh or think, hopefully both.
Agus Widodo is a cartoonist from Indonesia. Where most cartoonists these days use digital tools to color their work, or work entirely on a screen instead of paper, Agus still works with paper, pens and water colors, to great effect.
United Sketches is raising awareness for Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. Sotoudeh, 57, who has represented opposition activists including women prosecuted for removing their headscarf, was arrested in 2018 and charged with spying, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader.
Here below you can see some of the excellent works by cartoonists that already have drawn in support of Nasrin. If you want to join the campaign, send your cartoon to firstname.lastname@example.org
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the Cartoon Movement platform. At the beginning of this year, we were planning something special to mark this occasion: a (retrospective) exhibition, perhaps a festival where we would invite a number of our cartoonists. But, unfortunately, the pandemic got in the way.
So, as we enter another lockdown here in the Netherlands, we'll have to settle for presenting this modest retrospective on our blog, highlighting one cartoon each year that was special to us in the last decade.
Although Cartoon Movement launched on December 15, 2010, the cartoonist community has been around since 2008. Some of you might remember our old website vjmovement.com, which we shared with video journalists.
The very first cartoon we published back in 2008 was this one by Marcin Bondarowicz from Poland, titled The cold wind of crisis (remember the financial crisis?):
(The first one ever published on Cartoon Movement is this one by Ukrainian cartoonist Vladimir Kazanevsky.)
These two cartoons illustrate the type of work we tend to publish. Social commentary that is purely visual and doesn't require words to communicate a powerful message.
In early 2011, the Arab Spring entered our website, with hundreds a cartoons about the revolutions that swept the Arab nations, many from cartoonists living in these countries themselves. One of the most special cartoons to us is the one below by Sherif Arafa. It is the first time in his career he could draw Egypt's leader Mubarak, forced to step down the day before, without fear of being arrested:
In 2012, most of the cartoons we published had to do with the ongoing financial and economic crisis. People were hit hard, and unemployment rose sharply, as illustrated in this cartoon by Joseba Morales:
Over the years, we have done many projects on more timeless themes, such as justice, peace and the consequences of war. These are universal themes that define the human condition, and cartoonists have developed a universal visual language to deal with them. One image that we remember from 2013 is this harrowing image by Sunnerberg Constantin:
This cartoon by Rodrigo De Matos is special, because gender equality is a topic that is often drawn about, but rarely in quite such an elegant and simple way as in this cartoon. In fact, this cartoon is almost always included when we give trainings and workshops, to explain what cartoonists do (comment on injustices in society), how they do it (using visual language), and why it has such an impact (it can be understood in 3 seconds or less):
2015 was marked by what happened on January 15 of that year. The attack on Charlie Hebdo has become a grim milestone in the profession, reminding all cartoonists what the cost of making satire can be. This cartoon by Gatis Sluka conveys a sentiment that many cartoonist felt in the aftermath of the attack, a feeling we hope persists until this day. You might cut us down, but we will come back in force:
Two subjects come to mind when we think about 2016: Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. Our favorite cartoon from this year is about Brexit, and was made by Ukrainian artist Aexander Dubovsky. It's a deceptively simple image that works on a number of levels, and it's a perfect summary of the feeling in Europe after the Brexit vote and part of a BBC slideshow with a number of our Brexit cartoons, made shortly after the referendum.
If 2016 is summarized in a Brexit cartoon, then 2017 must feature a Trump cartoon. And if any of you remember Trump's first tumultuous year in office, you'll probably agree this cartoon by Austrian cartoonist Marian Kamensky is an apt illustration:
One of the most special projects we did in the past 10 years was to illustrate all 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in partnership with the United Nations Human Rights Office, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the UDHR. Not only do we think it's important to keep pushing for human rights, doing so in the universal language of visual satire was a unique approach that had a profound impact. It is difficult to choose one right over another, but this illustration of article 5 (No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) by Elihu Duayer still makes us laugh. It's funny because it's true...
Again a year with enough to cartoon about. But looking through our archive of published cartoons, this one by Seyran Caferli stood out. Not only was it one of the popular cartoons that year, it's timeless quality and subject matter show what cartoons are all about. They lay bare the mechanisms of power, and the best cartoonists only need a few lines to do so:
2020 is of course the year of corona. At the start of the pandemic, some called COVID-19 the great equalizer, because everyone, rich or poor, could fall victim to it. But in a world of growing inequality, the impact of a virus is also unequal, hitting the weakest in society the worst. This cartoon by Mansoure Dehgani says it all:
Thanks to all of you for all your support over the last 10 years. We hope to be able to continue for at least 1o years more (and hopefully a lot longer)!
Here below you can find the French translation of our comic Making ends meet around Virunga, produced for the Centre of Public Authority and International Development (CPAID) of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Download a PDF of the the French version here.
Konstantin Kazanchev is a cartoonist from Ukraine, publishing since 1983. He is also president of the Association of Ukraine Caricaturists.
It's been a busy week here at Cartoon Movement. First of all, we were present at the World Press Freedom Conference with our #digitalcartoonwall. We received over 400 cartoons on press freedom, censorship and the dangers facing cartoonists; together with Cartooning for Peace, we made a selection of the cartoons we liked best, which you can see here.
And check out CM editor Tjeerd Royaards presenting some of the cartoons from the #digitalcartoonwall and talking about press freedom:
And of course, our exhibition Cartooning for #PressFreedom opened at the Sound and Vision media museum in The Hague. We did a livestream from the exihbition yesterday, which you can see on our Instagram channel.
We also had another exhibition opening this week in Bangkok, Thailand, featuring a selection of cartoon from our press freedom competition.
And last, but certainly not least, our new educational branch The Next Movement co-hosted a cartoon workshop in Cuba, together with the Embassy of the Netherlands, in celebration of Human Rights Day on December 10. Miguel Morales Madrigal gave a workshop to fellow cartoonists. In the short interview below, he gives his perspective on the profession:
Yesterday, the exhibition Cartooning for #PressFreedom opened in the Sound and Vision media museum in The Hague. The exhibition features the 10 selected cartoons from our press freedom competition and 10 cartoons by renowned cartoonists from Cartooning for Peace on the same theme. The museum has also added 10 (historical) cartoons from its collection.
The exhibition is being organized in honour of the World Press Freedom Conference (WPFC 2020), which will be held on 9 and 10 December in the form of a worldwide digital event. The last day of the exhibition will be Sunday 28 February 2021.
Dutch national TV made a report about the exhibition:
Tune in to our Instagram channel at 4pm CET on Thursday, when we will be doing a livestream from the museum to show the exhibition to those of you who cannot attend.