CRNI has posted a comics journalism piece by cartoonist Suhail Naqshbandi to mark the first anniversary of the repeal of Article 370, India’s suspension of the Jammu & Kashmir region’s autonomous status and the subsequent degradation of civil liberty, including one of the world’s longest internet shutdowns.
One of the projects we're currently working on is a series of comics on public authority in Africa, commissioned by the Africa Centre of the London School of Economics. The comics are based on field research in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone and South Sudan. We are currently in the storyboarding phase, where the artists have made rough drafts of the story to get a feel for the story flow and the visuals.
We try to make the comics as authentic as possible, working close with the researchers (who know the subject matter intimately), using a lot of reference photographs, and trying to incorporate as much of actual dialogue from the field research as we can. Although at first glance the topic of public authority can seem a bit dry, the stories we are trying to tell are fascinating.
One narrative is about vigilante justice in Uganda. A village is plagued by crime and has no funds to set up a police presence; the local council enlist a group of youths to patrol the streets and things go downhill from there...
Another narrative takes place in Palabek Refugee Settlement, also in Uganda. Here, a woman is accused of witchcraft. The authorities in the camp fail to take adequate action; violence ensues as the community feels they have to take matters into their own hands.
Storyboard fragment of 'A poisoning in Palabek' - Story by Ryan Joseph O'Byrne, art by Charity Atukunda
Other narratives that are currently worked on deal with the formal and informal economy in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis and the precarious situation of people living next to Virunga National Park in DRC. The full series will be six comics of eight pages each, which will be published on Cartoon Movement later this year and early next year.
One of our new year's resolutions is to keep our audience better informed of all the stuff we do. That's why we have launched a monthly newsletter with an overview of our more interesting projects, upcoming activities and cartoon news in general. Consider subscribing if you are interested in (international) political cartoons!
Together with the University of Sussex and the Migrating out of Poverty Research Programme Consortium, we have created a 4-page comic about irregular migration from Ethiopia to South Africa. The Ethiopian government has outlawed many kinds of migrant smugglers and brokers and their businesses have gone underground. There is now a large migration industry of smugglers, informal brokers and other actors who help migrants navigate border controls.
The research on which this comic is based sought to understand the social relations that underpin brokerage and the implications of clandestine migration for the welfare of the migrants themselves as well as their families. The relationships between migrants and those who mediate migration are complex with the power shifting between the migrant and broker at different points of the journey. The research shows how the system operates and why it continues despite the controls.
The comic, drawn by Kenyan artist Maddo, will be published on Cartoon Movement on October 9. Two other comics exploring irregular migration are currently being produced and will be published later this year.
This month we’ll be publishing two comics we have produced for The Politics of Return, a research project of the London School of Economics exploring the dynamics of return and reintegration of refugees in Central and Eastern Africa.
We have already published two comics earlier this year: Uganda's Forgotten Children, by Charity Atukunda and Displacement and Return in the Central African Republic, by Didier Kassai. Uganda's Forgotten Children focuses on the 30,000 children that were abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). What became of them when they returned to society? Displacement and Return in CAR is about the people (mainly Muslims) that fled the conflict. Now that the violence has ended, can they return and find a place in society?
In September we'll be publishing two further instalments in this series.
The first one, He Cannot Marry Her by Tom Dai and Naomi Pendle, is about marriage and identity in Both Sudan. By deciding who can marry who (and thus have children), chiefs' courts have a huge influence on identity politics in South Sudan, where even the dead can marry and have children.
The second one, Between Two Spaces by Victor Ndula and Koen Vlassenrroot, shows why disarming combatants in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been less than successful.
He Cannot Marry Her will be published on September 10 and Between Two Spaces will be published on September 17.
In March, four of our cartoonists (Hajo, Spiros Derveniotis, Osama Hajjaj & Tjeerd Royaards) collaborated on an art project for the new headquarters of vfonds, a Dutch NGO with a focus on peace, freedom, democracy and international law. Together, they created 72 cartoons telling the story of the Second World War, the reconstruction of Europe (and the Netherlands in particular), the Cold War and the construction of an international order, and the rise of freedom and democracy in Europe (and the world).
The 72 cartoons are printed on the front and back of 36 panels that are hung vertically from the ceiling, creating a narrative that you can walk under.
Throughout the panels, a 'V' shape is visible, v being the first letter of the Dutch word for peace (vrede) and freedom (vrijheid). The panels in red tell the story of war, conflict and the price of peace. The panels in blue show how peace leads to prosperity and freedom.
Here is and overview of all the panels. Click on the image for a larger version:
All images © Cartoon Movement/Hajo/Sprios Derveniotis/Osama Hajjaj/Tjeerd Royaards. Use of these images is only allowed after the written consent of Cartoon Movement.
We are wrapping up our partnership with the Justice and Security Research Programme (a research consortium lead by the London School of Economics) with two comics about issues of justice and security in northern Uganda. The aim of these comics is to translate LSE research into more accessible narratives that explore and question the concept of justice.
One comic, eight pages written by Lacan and drawn by Tom Humberstone, explores the problem of land conflicts. After decades of war, the displaced Acholi people return to their lands, but conflicts emerge as there are no written records and the lands have changed in intervening years.
The other comic, by Holly Porter (words) and Victor Ndula (art) tells an even more dramatic tale. The comic tells the stories of two rape victims and (extreme) difference in achieving justice afterwards.
The London School of Economics is hosting an exhibition of infographic comics visualising research on South Sudan undertaken by the Justice and Security Research Programme (JSRP). The comics represent a collaboration between the JSRP and Kenyan cartoonist Victor Ndula, facilitated by JSRP partner The Cartoon Movement. The graphics explore political, social and economic developments since 2011 in the world’s newest country.
This exhibition is open to all, no ticket required. Visitors are welcome during weekdays (Monday - Friday) between 10am and 8pm. Please note the exhibition will close at 3pm on Friday 27 January.
If you can't make it to the exhibition, the comics are available to read online here.
South Sudan - The Political Marketplace
Date: Monday 9 January - Friday 27 January 2017
Time: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm
Venue: Atrium Gallery, Old Building
We live in polarized times. The election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States has laid bare deep divisions in American society. These same division can be found in Europe, and are exploited by populist politicians that successfully operate in many European countries.
By their nature, editorial cartoons give one particular perspective on what is happening in the world. By showing a range of perspectives we hope to avoid getting entrenched on one side of any given debate.
The comics we publish give us the chance to do fact-based explorations from various angles. In recent years, we have done numerous comic collaborations with university professors. Comics are an excellent tool to make complex subject matter understandable and accessible, without losing sight of the relevant facts.
One of the first of these ‘academic’ comics we ever did was the story of South Sudan, from independence in 2012, to civil war within just three years. This eventually became a series of comics:
The comics are drawn by Kenyan comic artist Victor Ndula and written by Alex de Waal, a world-renowned expert on South Sudan. They are considered to be such a good and succinct explanation of the situation in South Sudan that they are now part of the standard briefing pack at USAID for anyone working on Africa.
We are currently working on more comics as part of our partnership with the London School of Economics, this time focusing on justice in Angola.
More recently, we published Europe’s Refugee Crisis: A Perfect Storm, a comic collaboration with a profession of migration law that explains how Europe is largely responsible for its own refugee crisis.
Today, we’ve published a comic/animation that seeks to explain how polarization works and what we can do to reverse this process. The comic, drawn by Pedro X. Molina from Nicaragua, is based on the model of polarization by philosopher Bart Brandsma.
This academic approach to comics isn’t only novel, we believe it necessary. Ironically, in a time when information is more abundant than ever, facts can sometimes be hard to find. Our social media timelines present us with what we want to hear (even if it’s fake), and Google enables us to find support for any of our convictions, no matter how far-fetched. The least we can do is to make sure that the comics we publish are thoroughly researched and based on fact, not fiction.
The two most recent comics are produced for Times of Migration, a new platform with a focus on refugees and migration. Times of Migration takes a fact-based approach to its subject matter; in the often highly charged debate about migration, it is more important than ever to have all the facts.
Next month we’ll start publishing ‘Dina’, a graphic novel by Italian cartoonist and comic artist Emanuele Del Rosso and Sarah Othman.
'Dina' is a serialized graphic novel telling the story of Dina, young woman from Mansoura (Egypt) and the many challenges she faces on the road to becoming a journalist.
The comic is originally made for RNW Media and is published (in Arabic) on the website Love Matters Arabic in weekly installments.
We will be publishing the English version of the comic in 8-page installments each month, starting in September.