You are browsing the archive for 2019 January.

Laughter as a Political Tool

January 31, 2019 in Events, General

The excellent and courageous Malaysian cartoonist Zunar (Zulkiflee Ulhaque) recently gave a talk entitled ‘Laughter as a Political Tool’ at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London. There was also an accompanying exhibition of his campaigning cartoon work.

Zunar speaking at the event (pictures of him in handcuffs featured heavily as he’s frequently been arrested)

Back in his home country he has faced continued harassment and censorship for standing up against government corruption. His books have been banned and the printers harangued for publishing them. His Kuala Lumpur studio has been raided and thousands of his books confiscated. He’s been arrested on numerous occasions and some of his exhibitions have even been physically attacked. He was charged under the Sedition Act and faced the prospect of 43 years in prison. He was also banned from international travel up until last year.

The discussion was focused on how humour can be used to challenge existing political structures and was part of the IAS Laughter programme of events.

Cartoon by © Zunar

Zunar told the story of how the Head of Police ordered his arrest via Twitter – since then he has playfully tucked a drawing of the police chief using a mobile into many of his drawings (see above cartoon)

Zunar with CRNI’s Terrry Anderson (and a drawing I did of him during the talk)

He also spoke passionately about the need to stand up against political injustice and corruption. He said ‘How can I be neutral? Even my pen has a stand’.

Zunar was presented with the Cartoonists Rights Network International Courage Award in 2011.

Thankfully things have eased up for him since the regime he pilloried has been removed from office (although he joked that he will really miss drawing former Prime Minister Razak and his wife Rosmah who gave him so much material)

Zunar with The Guardian political cartoonist Martin Rowson at the exhibition after the talk. Martin described Zunar as one of the bravest people he’s ever met.

Cartoon by © Zunar

More can be read about Zunar’s long fight in this Guardian article.

He is planning a book about his experiences and will hopefully be visiting the UK again later in the year to talk about it.

Hector Breeze RIP

January 6, 2019 in General

Cartoon from Private Eye – A Cartoon History

Rupert Besley writes:

The sad news of the passing of Hector Breeze not long after celebrating his 90th birthday, has, unsurprisingly, brought in a flood of tributes from fellow cartoonists, all recognising the greatness of the man along with the warmth, charm and wit of his cartoons. Hero, wonderful, great, favourite, brilliant, classic, prolific… are words piling up on the PCO forum from the pens of Pete Dredge, Noel Ford, Roger Penwill, Mike Turner, Neil Dishington, Andrew Birch, Glenn Marshall – and expect more to come as the news spreads.

Hector Breeze

Hector Breeze developed what was surely the perfect cartooning style for the kind of pocket-sized gags he churned out so prolifically and successfully over so many years (since the late 50s). With their robust lines, economy of detail and strong use of solid blacks, HB cartoons were instantly recognisable as his and stood out a mile off as funny. Central to them were his stock characters, ever charming, ever bewildered. Tramps, army chaplains, oddballs, kings. You had to warm to them.

‘Gentle humour’ is a damning phrase, usually coded for ‘not funny’. Hector Breeze cartoons were never savage or angry, but they were funny. Damned funny.

Private Eye cartoon

He sold his first cartoon to Melody Maker in 1957 and over the following five decades and more, Hector Breeze cartoons brought sheer enjoyment to national publications that included Private Eye, Punch, the Evening Standard, the Mirror, Sketch, Guardian and Express. Having begun in a government drawing office, he later worked in advertising. Among his other skills (no surprise from the clarity of his signature) was letter-carving in stone.

A collection of Hector’s work produced by Private Eye in 1973

As with Sprod, it took me some while to discover that Hector Breeze was his real name and not something dreamt up as pen-name (he couldn’t have hit on better if he had tried).

In 2011 the PCO Blog team put together a piece on the Top Ten of Cartoonists’ Favourite Cartoonists. Pete Dredge’s choice was Hector Breeze, illustrated with a perfect gag and summed up exactly right:

‘Out of the mouths of his mundane, benign, chunkily drawn characters comes the sharpest of captions.’

In 1996 Ralph Steadman wrote that Breeze’s “clumsy bewildered characters restore my faith in the seriously daft.”*

Cartoon from the Hector Breeze Private Eye Cartoon Library

From Pick of Punch, 1973

Our thoughts are with Hector’s family.

*Quote and photo courtesy of  The British Cartoon Archive

PCO Cartoon Review of 2018

January 2, 2019 in Comment, General, News

 

Cartoon © Steve Bright

As is tradition, here is our review of the year featuring cartoons by PCO members and when I say tradition I mean we did it for the first time last year.

The Brighty cartoon above was done to introduce last year but is sadly still very true for the end of 2018.

If you can’t bear any more mentions of Brexit or Trump you’re advised to look away now!

Cartoon © Dave Brown

After the terrible Florida school shootings towards the beginning of the year Trump’s well considered proposal was to arm teachers. This was Dave Brown’s response in his ‘Rogue’s Gallery’ drawing for The Independent.

Cartoon © Mike Turner

Salisbury received a tourism boost in March when visited by two Russian holiday makers. Here’s a cartoon of Mike Turner’s on the Novichok nightmare.

Cartoon © Graeme Bandeira

March also saw the relativity sad news of Stephen Hawking’s death. Graeme Bandeira paid cartoon tribute to him in The Yorkshire Post. Our quarks are with Stephen’s family.

Cartoon © Sarah Boyce

In April the Home Office become Rudd-erless after the Windrush scandal erupted. This by Sarah Boyce published in Private Eye.

Cartoon © Nathan Ariss

Nathan Ariss had signalled Amber Rudd’s departure in Private Eye too.

Cartoon © Steve Bell

In June we had the start of the Donald/Kim love-in as they met in Singapore. That moment captured here by Steve Bell in The Guardian.

Cartoon © Martin Rowson

Then in July The Donald asked his administration to invite his other love interest Vlad Putin to the White House. The moment foretold here by Martin Rowson also in The Guardian. Of course the person Trump loves more than anyone else is Trump himself.

Cartoon © Steve Jones

The nation went into shock in July when England actually preformed well AND won a penalty shoot out in the World Cup!!! This was a favourite football tournament themed cartoon by Jonesy (used in Private Eye).

Cartoon © Tat Effby

There’s been much in the news this year about climate change and plastic in the oceans. Here’s a fine cartoon I’ve recycled on the subject by Tat Effby.

Cartoon © The Surreal McCoy

The Surreal McCoy also took to the oceans with this message on #MeToo.

Cartoon © Kipper Williams

In August Theresa May started thinking of life after being PM when she put in a ‘Strictly’ application by throwing some shapes, mostly Isosceles triangles, on her tour to South Africa. This from Kipper Williams in The Spectator.

Cartoon © Jeremy Banx

In September the Dancing Queen announced at the party conference in Birmingham plans for the ‘Festival of Brexit’. This Jeremy Banx cartoon in the Finacial Times became very popular on social media.

Cartoon © Royston Robertson

On the subject of Brexit, and it’s very difficult to get OFF the subject of Brexit, here’s a fine cartoon by Royston Robertson from The New European.

Cartoon © Andy Davey

…and there’s more. Andy Davey’s finely woven tapestry on the Brexit battle within the Conservative party. (Daily Telegpah)

Cartoon © Rob Murray

This Rob Murray Private Eye cartoon perfectly sums up our nation divided.

Cartoon © Wilbur Dawbarn

It’s not only the UK that’s been in turmoil, across in France they’ve had gilets jaunes fever. This Gauling cartoon by Wilbur Dawbarn.

As the year ended Trump closes down the US government to try and force through funding for his election promise to ‘Build A Hamster Wheel’. This just in from our correspondent Clive Goddard.

Illustration © Rebecca Hendin

This illustration by Rebecca Hendin has NOTHING to do with the year (it was drawn for the BBC Culture series ‘Stories That Shaped The World’) but I think it sums up 2018 perfectly…a sort of contemporary Edvard Munchian existential scream.

Cartoon © Brian Adcock

…and in The Guardian new PCO member Brian Adcock digs out his crystal ball to predict what might happen in 2019…yep, more of the same.

Happy? New Year from the PCO