You are browsing the archive for 2017 May.

The ‘Sweet EU’ Cartoon Exhibition

May 22, 2017 in General

The Surreal McCoy’s report from Athens:

The British man seated next to us on the plane was a former investment banker, newly-qualified as a paramedic. He was on his way to one of the Greek islands to volunteer with an international search and rescue team. The weather was warming up and the seas were becoming calmer. Apparently May is the beginning of refugee season.

Some of the participating cartoonists.

Myself and Glenn Marshall were also on our way to Greece. We had been invited by the Greek Cartoonists’ Association to attend the opening of the Sweet Europe exhibition on behalf of the PCO. 28 PCO members had contributed their work along with 29 Greek cartoonists. Over the next three days we would be received with much warmth and kindness, making this an unforgettable trip.

The exhibition was being held in a hall at one Athen’s main metro stations – a large and airy place with specially built walls and lights to showcase the cartoons. They were printed onto thin A3 aluminium sheets that are long-lasting and fade-proof. Thanks to its central position last year’s exhibition on refugees attracted around 150,000 people over the week. And this year’s exhibition, on our differing views of Brexit and the EU, had already brought in many visitors: a mixture of locals and tourists, the organisers providing translations of the cartoons into both Greek and English.

Cartoon by ©Michael Kountouris.

During the day we sat around a table in the middle of the hall talking and drawing with the Greek cartoonists. Many common stories about their situation emerged: the non-payment of wages, the closure of newspapers and magazines, the household bills that couldn’t be paid (the price of electricity had recently trebled overnight), but still they carried on drawing. We heard the same from the Greek public who were not shy in expressing their opinions. One woman who used to work in real estate said she couldn’t even find a job as a cleaner. Passions were running high – one visitor angrily shouting at our Greek colleagues that they should be careful what they drew, that they should remember what happened to those French cartoonists.

The sweet and sour views from the comments book.

The formal opening was attended by Greek members of parliament including the parliament’s President. (The Greek parliament had part-sponsored the exhibition along with the Attika municipality, the Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers and the Urban Rail Transport Company).The mood in parliament may have been sombre beforehand (they had been discussing terms for a fourth EU bailout) but it lightened somewhat as they looked around the cartoons.

The exhibition catalogue.

Many thanks to all those PCO members who contributed work and made this exhibition such a talking point. If the idea was to promote debate and exchange of ideas then it was a great success and there are hopes that it will be brought to the UK in the future.

Xenia is the ancient Greek concept of hospitality and we were reminded of the Greek quote: A stranger is a god in disguise – treat the stranger as your friend. We were overwhelmed by the grace and generosity of our Greek hosts and would especially like to thank the president of the Greek Cartoonists’ Association Panos Maragos and his team of volunteers for all their hard work and hospitality. ευχαριστώ! Thank you!

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by Jonesy

Tally ho! Bill Stott cuts to the chase…

May 19, 2017 in General

© Bill Stott

PCO Chair Bill Stott has the hunting set in his sights:

Some time ago, an American dentist travelled all the way from the U.S.A. to Africa. In his luggage was a large, very powerful rifle and a crossbow. He’d brought these things to kill stuff with – something Americans are quite good at doing at home, let alone abroad. Anyway, this dental jerk managed to lure, shoot and kill a much-loved local lion, for which he received general ignominy, death threats and for a time his life was very difficult. Which is as it should be.

Some Americans are big on hunting. They like killing wild animals. Why? Well they’d tell you that man is a natural hunter. They’d tell you that its entirely natural for them to pit themselves[armed with a Winchester 30/30] against brown bears, lions, deer and anything furry which isn’t human. Which is, in the words of the anti-hunting supremo Dr Agricola Monkfish [not his real name], bollocks. They do it because they like killing things.

So – that’s the Americans sorted. But what about closer to home ? What about in yer own backyard/garden/paddock/nearby field ? I live in what might be called a semi-rural area. “Semi” because if I look that way all I can see are fields, copses , cows, sheep and farms. If I look the other way I can see the by-pass and a big smelly factory which makes God knows what and, at night, looks like Mordor. But if you can ignore that, the rural side is pretty damned good. We get all manner of birds, from noisy gangs of starlings and sparrows, to crows, woodpeckers, loads of finches, and big circling buzzards. And we have rabbits and badgers too.

Oh, and foxes. We have quite a few foxes.

I’ve got two hens. One’s a huge fat Orpington. The other’s a smaller, more intelligent Barnvelder [go on –look them up]. Sure, they lay eggs – hens tend to do that – but they’re more like pets really, and they live in a large hen-run, protected by 7 foot pheasant wire. Sometimes, I let them out for a mooch round the garden where they fight over worms, look down Wellingtons, and eat flowers they shouldn’t eat. But, despite protective measures, my hens are at risk. From foxes. Foxes are agile, nimble and very intelligent. They’ve killed quite a few hens in the village. How would I feel if a fox killed Polly and Phoebe ? Sad. I’d feel sad. But would I want to kill the fox ? No, I wouldn’t.

And that sets me apart from a certain local group of would – be killers – our equivalent of psychopathic American dentists. I speak of course of the Local Hunt.

Officially, fox-hunting’s banned at the moment, but cunning Local Hunts get round the ban by simply ignoring it. Presently Local Hunts are allowed to career around the place with dogs chasing a smelly lure, but many still chase real live foxes.

Local Hunts are composed of men and women who are equestrian. They like riding horses. Not very well, many of them, but most of all they like galloping willy-nilly around the countryside behind a pack of dogs which will, given a chance, tear an exhausted, terrified fox to pieces, starting usually at the lower abdomen.

One hell of a death.

There’s collateral damage too. A passing hunt frightens paddocked horses, grazing cows and sheep, and anything else which might be fazed by half a ton of galloping horse and fat-arsed rider bearing down on them. AND they bung up our already narrow lanes with their Range Rovers, trailers and horseboxes .

So, despite the ban, foxes are still hunted by people who think that dressing up in silly clothes, blowing horns [yes, they actually do that] and generally disturbing the peace is all part and parcel of being rural and green and loving the countryside. [Bollocks – Dr Monkfish]

In fact, most Local Hunts are rubbish at killing foxes. Foxes are a lot cleverer than local huntspersons and their would-be killer dogs. But that’s not the point. INTENT is the point. And soon, providing Mrs May wins the election, these repellent people will be legally entitled to kill foxes again. The ban will be lifted.

Why will Mrs May lift the fox-hunting ban ? Well, she’ll do that because the hooray Henrys and Henriettas who “ride to hounds” are Conservative voters, and the PM wants to smash all opposition with a huge majority on her way to becoming the new Iron Lady. So what do a few foxes matter ? Not at all, apparently. They’re only animals after all.

 

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by Jonesy

In Their Own Words: Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani tells Amnesty International about the awful reality of her arrest and interrogation

May 16, 2017 in General

Atena Farghadani talks of her appalling treatment by the Iranian authorities

Amnesty International’s fortnightly series ‘In Their Own Words’ launched on 17th March with the story of Albert Woodfox, an American who spent 44 years in solitary confinement. Other episodes include the story of Khadjia Ismayilova, an investigative journalist from Azerbaijan who was imprisoned and framed by her own government for exposing political corruption. Then there is Steve Kelly, who became a human rights activist after his brother, Mike, was tragically killed in the Hillsborough football disaster.

The success of the first series which featured, among others, Chelsea Manning and Chen Guangcheng (voiced by Michelle Hendley and Christian Bale respectively) has resulted in a second set of broadcasts, concluding with Atena Farghadani’s story, her words voiced by UK-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi.

Atena’s episode is a distressing tale of a young woman being subjected to the most degrading treatment simply because she drew pictures depicting authority figures as animals.

The 30-year-old Iranian was freed one year ago after an international campaign for her release – she had been due to serve 11 more years in prison – but she isn’t free of the nightmare. Atena was given a three-year suspended sentence for ‘insulting Iran’s leader’ – which means that she could still be sent back to prison at any point until May 2019. This is a common tactic to try to deter former prisoners from speaking out.

It is a testament to her courage that she will not be silenced.

Atena’s contribution to Amnesty International’s ‘In Their Own Words’ second series can be heard here.

You can also listen to the other episodes here.

Report on the situation of cartoonists worldwide

May 11, 2017 in General

Cartooning For Peace have produced an excellent and detailed report highlighting the difficulties and persecution of cartoonists around the world. The publication coincided with World Press Freedom Day.

It includes pieces on Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart who we covered on here and a really good piece by CRNI campaigner & PCO member Terry Anderson on Eaten Fish.

There are some harrowing stories and very powerful cartoons. Very well put together too. You can read it here.

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by Jonesy

100 days of Trump, the year of Brexit…and Boris

May 11, 2017 in General

© Peter Brookes

Chris Beetles Gallery is currently running a significant selling exhibition comprising the astute observations of award winning political cartoonists Peter Brookes of the Times and Matt (Matthew Pritchett) of the Telegraph.

© Matt (Matthew Pritchett)

The exhibition includes over 120 works, covering the build-up to Donald Trump’s election and his first 100 days as President. In this momentous period of political turbulence there has been plenty of material for two of our greatest cartoonists to get their teeth into: Brexit, the Budget, the ‘Snap Election’ and everything in between.

© Peter Brookes

© Matt (Matthew Pritchett)

You can view the cartoons here or, better still, visit Chris Beetles Gallery at:

8 & 10 Ryder Street, London, SW1Y 6QB

Telephone: 020 7839 7551

Gallery Opening Times are Monday to Saturday, 10am – 5.30pm

The exhibition runs until 20th May 2017

 

© Peter Brookes

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by Jonesy

A labour of love…

May 10, 2017 in General

Illustration © Sarah Boyce

A story, remarkable and touching in so many ways, with illustrations by PCO member Sarah Boyce:

Kings Langley resident, Andrew Knowlman, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in April 2015 and now uses a wheelchair and eyegaze technology to communicate. This week sees the publication of a book he wrote for his daughter entirely using his eyes called Die Kleine Backstube (The Little Bakery).

Illustration © Sarah Boyce

Andrew was born in Camberley, Surrey in 1967. He went to school in York, where his love of languages developed at a young age. He was interested in the world beyond the UK. He was lucky enough to travel and his parents spoke Norweigan. After completing A levels at school, Andrew studied German at Aston University in the UK’s midlands. He has lived and worked in Germany, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Australia and France enjoying learning new languages along the way.

Illustration © Sarah Boyce

With Andrew’s daughter, Valentina, learning and enjoying German at school and also developing a passion for baking, he felt compelled to write this book for her no matter what challenges that would bring.

Die Kleine Backstube is written in German. It is the story of the Little Bakery, which has been in the same family for 100 years and how a young woman follows her passion to try and make something great. It tells of her creativity, hard work and determination, overcoming obstacles along the way. The book is suitable for anybody learning German or younger native speakers.

Illustration © Sarah Boyce

The illustrations are by Andrew’s friend, Sarah Boyce who visits him every week, when they work on projects together. Their follow up project is an audio book for his son Sebastian, called The Fantastic Race, about two boys on a driving race through Europe, which will be out soon. They have also created a short online video about his first book to be shared on twitter with the hashtag #thisyearIhave

Die Kleine Backstube is available from Andrew’s blog StopForAMomentPeople as well as Amazon and major online bookstores.

With thanks to The Surreal McCoy.

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by Jonesy

Punch and the Judies

May 10, 2017 in General

© Sally Artz and Punch Archives

A PCO EXCLUSIVE from The Surreal McCoy:

The March 1972 edition of Punch magazine was billed as the New Women’s issue. In a nod to the feminist movement, it featured an all-women cast of writers, editors and cartoonists. The PCO’s very own Sally Artz was initially commissioned to produce a full colour front cover but it was relegated to an inside page with the cover going instead to Michael ffolkes.

“…More Donald McGill than Punch with a huge, bosomy woman (accompanied by tiny hen-pecked husband) being shown the wine-label, in a restaurant, by the leering wine waiter. We were all pretty pissed-off by the whole MCP [male chauvinist pig] attitude. How times change!” Sally Artz

You can read Barbara Castle’s article from the same issue about the controversy:

Michael ffolkes’ Punch cover ©Punch Archives

 

 

 

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by Jonesy

Umbrage and umbrellas on World Press Freedom Day

May 4, 2017 in General

The Surreal McCoy reports:

A wet Wednesday afternoon and a gathering of Amnesty, English Pen, CRNI,Turkish journalists and representatives from the PCO outside the Turkish Embassy in London. It was World Press Freedom Day and we were here to protest the ongoing treatment of Turkish journalists and specifically for the PCO, the cartoonist Musa Kart. Held without charge for over five months he was finally charged with “abusing trust” and “helping an armed terrorist organisation without being a member”, carrying a maximum sentence of 29 years in prison. The first hearing for his case is due on 24th July. He will have spent nine months in prison by then.

 

PCO members, and other cartoonists all around the world, posted and tweeted selfies with the hashtag #FreeTurkeyMedia. Some cartoons were made into placards, sending simple yet powerful messages. Many thanks to all our members who donated their work.

 

More on Musa Kart from CRNI

 

Read the speech Musa Kart’s wife gave at the European Parliament

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The Inking Woman

May 2, 2017 in General

 

Photo courtesy of Cath Tate Cards

The Surreal McCoy writes:

At long last the legacy of women cartoonists and comic artists is celebrated at the Cartoon Museum in London in a wide-ranging exhibition called The Inking Woman.

Bringing together original artwork spanning 250 years, from 18th century caricatures to modern graphic novels, the exhibition is a celebration of the vibrancy and variety of women’s cartoon and comic expression in the UK. It also includes the PCO’s very own Sally Artz, Kate Charlesworth and The Surreal McCoy. With plenty of editorial and strip cartoons from magazines and newspapers, postcards, graphic novels, comics, digital comics and zines as well as panel gags, it is the largest exhibition of its kind to date.

 

The exhibition runs from now until the 23rd July 2017 at the Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH

 

Visit The Cartoon Museum website


Millennium Basin by Kate Charlesworth (originally published by the Guardian)

Excerpt from a graphic memoir by Kate Charlesworth (work in progress)

 

Rejected Punch cover 1972 by Sally Artz

 

The Surreal McCoy cartoon originally published by Prospect magazine

Sally Artz portfolio

Kate Charlesworth portfolio

The Surreal McCoy portfolio

 

 

A second helping of Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival

May 1, 2017 in General

Rupert Besley takes up from where Bill Stott left off

Another fine Shrewsbury down the hatch, all exactly as beautifully put in the previous blog piece. What follows here is just an excuse to bung up more photos.

The Food & Drink theme of this, the 14th Cartoon Festival at Shrewsbury, went down a treat. It was something cartoonists could all get their teeth into, with exhibition entries overspilling the frames and walls of the excellent Bear Steps Gallery and into Theatre Severn.

On from the Gallery, eyes peeled down Grope Lane, to the Unitarian Church, where Tony Husband held us transfixed by the story of his latest book, ‘From a Dark Place’, done with son Paul. It’s hard to imagine how any such tale could be better conveyed – or anti-addiction cause better promoted – than through the likes of cartoons by Tony. Lovers of these were treated to more next day, as a Big Board of Husband classics took shape in The Square.

Tony Husband’s cartoon smörgås-board. Photo © Rupert Besley

I’ll own up next to being somewhat daunted by the prospect of having to fill a Big Board that could stand alongside those underway from Dean Alston, Steve Best, Wilbur Dawbarn, Noel Ford, Clive Goddard, John Landers, Roger Penwill, Royston Robertson, Will Rudling and Bill Stott. And I’m bound to have missed out someone, apologies.

Elsewhere, animation workshops were in full swing and star turn Hunt Emerson present to speak on Comics of the Weird and Frankly Unbelievable. Back in The Square, the top team of ace caricaturists (Steve Bright, Jonathan Cusick, Alex Hughes, Helen Pointer, John Roberts) were busy drawing an admiring crowd. The Melodrawma was a feast of quickfire drawing, fast-fingered guitar and a lot of pun.

Cooking up the Melowdrawma , Wilbur Dawbarn, Royston Robertson, Hunt Emerson and Noel Ford. Photo © Maria Hughes

And, all the while, Glenn Marshall slaved over the deep-fat fryer, churning out takeaway gags by the plateful.

That genius Glenn Marshall (ED: Who wrote this?). Photo © Jac Lee

The day ended with dinner at The Lion (quite hard to deal with, given the dress code).

Some selfie-portraits. Photo © Glenn Marshall

And then the threatened uke attack, long into the night. ‘More!’ they cried, from bedrooms above. Well, possibly.

Part of the Ukulele ensemble, John Landers watches Wilbur Dawbarn & Royston Robertson with Alex Hughes and songstress Maria Hughes. Photo © Steve Bright