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Borderline Funny

June 13, 2019 in Events, General

Rupert Besley writes:

On the banks of the Tyne at Wallsend, downstream from Newcastle, is Segedunum, the large Roman fort that marked the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall. A century back, the space was crammed with terraced housing and rang to the sounds of shipbuilding in the Swan Hunter yard. It was here in 1906 that the Mauretania was launched, then the biggest moving structure ever made.These days the houses have gone and site cleared to reveal the foundations of the mighty garrison. Shipyard buildings have been converted to form a superb museum, impressive for its collection of Roman finds, its reconstructions and its many activities. The museum’s Viewing Tower is a welcome sight to those completing the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall Walk from Bowness-on-Solway. And this summer, for all who like cartoons (that’s everyone, isn’t it?), there is one further attraction: an exhibition of Hadrian’s Wall in cartoons.

The museum exterior.

Many congratulations to all involved, notably the volunteer Friends of Segedunum who have so well researched, resourced and curated Borderline Funny. With generous support from a variety of directions (including Lottery funding), they have put together a handsomely mounted show that includes contributions from a good few PCO members along with cartooning colleagues well known from Private Eye and Viz.Prominent in the exhibition, and rightly so, is the work of Roger Oram (1952-2016), an archaeologist who worked for 20 years at Segedunum and was also a spare-time cartoonist with an eye for satirical barbs.

One of the contributions from the children of Richardson Dees Primary School.

The exhibition spills over into the adjoining gallery with its cartoon contributions from visitors and local children, notably those from Richardson Dees Primary School in Wallsend, who worked on the project with Beano artist Nigel Auchterlounie.

Time was when printed publications had plentiful space for cartoons. Such outlets are shrinking fast, so it’s a most welcome thing that the enterprising folk of Tyne & Wear have done. A themed cartoon show makes an attractive add-on for any event or site – not just museums or places of interest: think sporting occasions, food fairs, professional conventions, local festivals, cultural happenings…

The PCO has regularly engaged with such undertakings, but the costs and logistical problems of such an exercise are really too much to expect one or two volunteers to manage. The task of assembling originals from all round the country, storing these, mounting, framing, hanging, insuring, supervising, handling sales and return despatch, is prohibitive, unless done in partnership with a gallery set up full-time for such activity.

Cartoon original by © Tony Husband

Top panel by Viz cartoonists © Graham Dury and Simon Thorp, courtesy of Dennis Publishing. Plus below cartoons by ©  K J Lamb and Clive Goddard.

At Segedunum they found another way through. Dispensing with originals (apart from the two generously donated by Tony Husband for fundraising purposes), they first obtained permissions and digital scans from the artists and then had these plus text printed by a local firm (to a very high standard) on to thick display board, cut to appropriate shapes. (A note advises visitors of contact details available to anyone interested in buying.) Still a way that needs money, hard work and much input from volunteers, but a very neat solution. Borderline brilliant, I’d say.

©  Rupert Besley’s take on the theme.

List of contributors

The exhibition runs right until Sunday 22 September.

Book Marks exhibition

June 5, 2019 in Events, General, News

Poster cartoons by © Sarah Boyce, The Surreal McCoy & Noel Ford.

Clive Goddard writes:

An exhibition of cartoons on the theme of books, literature and libraries drawn by the UK’s finest and funniest cartoonists. Appropriately enough the show will be taking place at Westminster Reference Library from June 3rd to 22nd and is free to enter.

The show features work by over 30 members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (PCO) including a host of familiar cartoonists from the pages of The Guardian, The Independent, Private Eye and the rest of the British press, whose signed originals and prints will be on sale. For a list of exhibitors & price list for the works please email:

info@procartoonists.org

Cartoon by © Chris Madden.

Cartoon by © Jeremy Banx.

During the exhibition, on Saturday 15th June 2-4 pm, there will be a free drawing workshop run by cartoonist Zoom Rockman, creator of the Zoom comic and the Beano’s Skanky Pigeon strip as well as work in Private Eye magazine. This event is free and suitable for all ages but spaces are limited so booking is highly recommended via the Westminster Libraries website.

Cartoon by The Independent’s © Dave Brown

Cartoon by © Richard Jolley.

Westminster Reference Library can be found at: 35 St. Martin’s Street, London WC2H 7HP.D

Cartoon by The Guardian cartoonist © Martin Rowson

Private Eye cartoon by © Glenn Marshall

 

 

Rejection dejection

May 23, 2019 in Events, General

Photo ©  Mika Schick

The Surreal McCoy writes:

When you give a talk on rejection the main worry of course is that no one will turn up. Thankfully quite a few people did attend a recent evening entitled The Art Of Rejection hosted by three members of the PCO at Westminster Reference Library in central London.

The Surreal McCoy’s studio with walls papered with rejection slips. ©The Surreal McCoy.

Jeremy Banx, The Surreal McCoy and Glenn Marshall took to the library floor, sharing their rejected work and the ways in which they deal with this inevitable part of a creative person’s life. [Spoiler alert: they just keep drawing more cartoons.]

The Jeremy Banx take on the police line-up butchered chicken trope. ©Banx

 One audience member later quipped “it’s the start of a new way of working. Now I send all my drawings directly to the bin, which reduces anxiety and frees up valuable time.”

Glenn Marshall’s failed desperate attempt to avoid rejection.

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival photo album

May 6, 2019 in Comment, Events, General, News

The ‘Plan B’ Shrewsbury Square. Photo © Tat Effby.

Glenn Marshall & Jonathan Cusick write:

With Storm Hannah due to roll in threatening rain and high winds the marquee company wouldn’t put up the festival’s gazebo roofing. Fear of airborne ‘para-boarding’ cartoonists made the festival organisers hastily arrange a Plan B for Saturday, which involved us decamping to the local Darwin Shopping Centre (every third business in Shrewsbury seems to contain the word Darwin)

A distant Steve Bell in front of a crowded audience. Photo © Jonathan Cusick.

Before that, on Friday evening Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell returned to the festival and spoke to a packed and enthusiastic crowd at the University Centre. Surveying his use of animals throughout his career, he picked out highlights including the penguin from his ‘If’ strip and ended with a few live drawings including his toilet-headed Trump. After twenty minutes of audience questions he signed copies of his latest book. A real treat for cartoon fans and definitely one of the highlights of the festival.

Saturday morning at John Cusick’s cartoon animal drawing workshop using exhibits from the Shrewsbury Museum collection. Photo © Jonathan Cusick.

Zoom Rockman cartoons stripped bare teaching how to draw his Skanky Pigeon character. Photo © Kate Lennard.

There were also well attended indoor talks by The Surreal McCoy and TWO by Clive Goddard (above) nothing to do with folk wanting to get out of the bad weather. Photo © Alison Patrick.

Meanwhile in the basement level of Darwin Shopping Centre dry and warm cartoonists began creating. Here Shrewsbury based cartoonist Tat Effby took to the big boards like a duck to water. Photo © Clive Goddard.

Luke Crump with one of his incredible ‘doodle style’ creations. Photo © Clive Goddard.

The Surreal McCoy hot-footed over from her ‘Wolf of Baghdad’ talk to fit in a board before hot-footing off again to join the ‘festival music ensemble’. Photo © Clive Goddard.

Jeremy Banx and Noel Ford mid-boards. Photo © Tat Effby.

Tim Harries & Rich Skipworth colouring in. Photos © Tat Effby.

John Landers’ snakes on a plain surface. Photo © Clive Goddard. 

Pete Dredge caricaturing Pa Marshall plus Jonathan Cusick really going with the animal theme. Photo © Tat Effby.

The 30 second rehearsal before the launch of The Shrewsbury Cartoon Players and Puppeteers inaugural performance of ‘The Animals Went In Two By Two’. Photo © Tat Effby. The Noah’s Ark was ironically moved indoors even though it would’ve been perfectly suited to the biblical weather conditions.

Royston Robertson featuring in the festival write-up in the Shropshire Star.

The festival produced a book of the ‘Drawn To Be Wild’ exhibition cartoons which is still available here price £9.95 + postage.

Thanks to all the organisers and sponsors for another successful festival that went down a storm.

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival 2019 preview

April 13, 2019 in Comment, Events, General

It’s only two weeks until Shrewsbury International Cartoons Festival. This years theme is ‘Animals’ and has a very full programme. This year all the speakers happen to be Procartoonists members.

 

Friday 26th, 7.30pm

Fist up on the Friday night The Guardian’s Steve Bell will share his lifelong close-up study of ‘Political Animals’, from Tarzan Hesletine to Leopard May on Friday 26th April. Tickets are £10 and can be booked online via this link. A donation will be made from the event to Guide Dogs UK.

Saturday 27th April, 10.30am

On Saturday Beano and Private Eye regular Zoom Rockman will be hosting a strip cartoon workshop. Zoom first started drawing his strip ‘Skanky Pigeon’ for the Beano when when he was just 12 years old!

Saturday 27th April, 11.00am

An exploration of the world of cartooning with ‘Fintan Fedora’ author, cartoonist and PCO Chair-human Clive Goddard.

Saturday 27th April, 1.30pm

After his earlier session Clive will be back again with more Fintan fun at new venue.

Saturday 27th April, 11.00am

The Surreal McCoy presents a preview of her audio-visual graphic memoir based on her Iraqi-Jewish family’s memories of their lost homeland.
The Wolf of Baghdad explores themes of displacement, refugees, identity and belonging.
After presenting an excerpt of the work, Carol will give an illustrated talk on the making of it and take questions from the audience in a Q and A.
Tickets can be booked online via this link.

Saturday 27th April, 12.00pm

An animal cartoon masterclass with Radio Times caricaturist Jonathan Cusick. Jonathan is also one of the festival organisers. You’ll be drawing using exhibits from the gallery, as Jonathan says ‘The great thing is the animals will not be moving’.

Team Goddard creating a big board at last years festival. 

On Saturday a menagerie of cartoonists will be be going animalistic drawing on big boards and caricaturing in the town square.

Throughout the weekend various exhibitions will be running including ‘Drawn To Be Wild’ at The Bear Steps Gallery and ‘The Lizards of Oz and Other Creatures’ an exhibition animal related cartoons by Australian cartoonist. More details on the festival website.

Eaten Fish talked

April 10, 2019 in Events, General, News

Eaten Fish with broadcaster Libby Purves

The Surreal McCoy writes:

With great emotion and delight PCO welcomed Ali Dorani (Iranian cartoonist aka Eaten Fish) to Westminster Reference Library last Friday. Our patron, the wonderful Libby Purves, was there to host the event.  She later remarked on her Twitter feed “He is astonishing. Fragile but warm, an original thinker, self aware and witty.”

Artwork © Eaten Fish

In front of a full and captivated house Ali told his story, illustrated with the cartoons he drew whilst in the refugee camp and afterwards. He described how it felt to see the #addafish shoal drawn by cartoonists he had idolised as a child – they gave him heart that the world hadn’t forgotten about his plight – and thanked the PCO for spearheading the campaign.

Artwork © Eaten Fish

Ali also talked about how Edvard Munch’s ‘Scream’ had always resonated with him, especially in the worst times of his ordeal on Manus. Ali commented that little did he know he’d end up in the country of Munch’s birth.

Ali was brought over for the event by International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) who were key in getting him out of Manus Refugee Internment camp. He is currently an artist in residence in Stavanger. He’s really interested in film making and it’s something he’d like to explore in future. Ali told about his obsession with the film of ‘Lord of The Rings’ when he was young; he watched it over and over again. When he was interviewed by Australian immigration he said one reason he wanted to come to Australia was he hoped to meet Peter Jackson. The officer said ‘that’s New Zealand not Australia’, Ali responded ‘yes but he does have a big office in Melbourne’.

The PCO is looking forward to working with Ali on other campaigns in the future, we’ll keep you posted!

You can follow Ali on facebook

 

Freedom of Expression Awards 2019

April 8, 2019 in Events, General, News

Congratulations to our friends at Cartoonists Rights Network International for winning the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award for CAMPAIGNING.

The impressive awards ceremony was held in London last Thursday evening and hosted by comedian Nish Kumar.

Index on Censorship described CRNI as “a small organisation with a big impact: monitoring threats and abuses against editorial cartoonists worldwide. It is a lifeline for cartoonists in danger across the world.”

CRNI Deputy Executive Director Terry Anderson after accepting the award.

In his speech Terry Anderson said: “Like virtually no other profession the cartoonist makes it their business to remind the citizenry that the emperor is naked.”

Terry kindly mentioned the support they have had from Procartoonists. Many of our members have contributed to campaigns for the likes of Zunar, Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé, Free Turkey Media and of course drawn fish for Eaten Fish.

Terry also praised International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) who offer refuge to writers, journalists and artists at risk of persecution. They’d been instrumental in the release of Eaten Fish.

The full speech can be seen here.

Ali Dorani (Eaten Fish) with Terry Anderson

Two cartoonists who benefited from CRNI backing had flown in specially to attend the awards. Zunar, a cartoonist who faced 43 years in prison for criticising the Malaysian government and Ali Dorani, AKA Eaten Fish, the Iranian cartoonist who spent four years interned in Australian-run Manus Island refugee internment camp.

Painting by © Zehra Doğan

All the award winners were incredible as indeed were all the nominees. I was particularly taken with the story of Kurdish artist and journalist  Zehra Doğan. She has only recently been released from a Turkish prison after being jailed for painting the destruction of a town in Turkey’s Kurdish region. When in prison she wasn’t allowed to have artists’ materials so drew on newspapers or old milk cartons using crushed fruit, herbs and even blood as paint with bird feathers to draw. Zehra won the award in the ARTS category.

One of the wonderful award cartoons by © Doaa el-Adl.

Winners were presented with cartoons especially drawn by Egyptian cartoonist Doaa el-Adl.

All the winners (L to R) Carolina Botero Cabrera, executive director of ‘Fundación Karisma’, DIGITAL ACTIVISM winner; JOURNALISM winner Mimi Mefo; Terry Anderson of CAMPAIGNING winner CRNI and ARTS winner Zehra Doğan. Photo © Elina Kansikas for Index on Censorship

Details of all the winners can be seen here.

For anyone interested in supporting Index on Censorship their CEO Jodie Ginsberg launched ‘The 1972 Club’ a membership scheme that funds their work as well as giving you great benefits.

Photo via © Rachael Jolley

Terry doing some painting and decorating on the wall at the new Index on Censorship office earlier in the day.

Eaten Fish landed for UK talk

March 15, 2019 in Events

 

Ali with his alter ego Eaten Fish. Photomontage © Eaten Fish

The Surreal McCoy writes:

Join broadcaster, journalist and PCO patron Libby Purves for an illustrated conversation with Ali Dorani, aka Iranian cartoonist Eaten Fish. This promises to be a fascinating evening with Ali on his first ever visit to the UK. It will take place at Westminster Reference Library, central London on Friday 5th April from 6-7.30pm. It is a free event but please book in advance here.

cartoon © Eaten Fish

Ali will be talking about how cartooning provided a way to document his experiences as a refugee at Manus Island and, now that he’s safely living in Norway, he will also discuss what the future holds for Eaten Fish.

More on Ali at Cartoonists Rights International Network here.

The #addafish campaign for Eaten Fish, led by PCO in early 2017 to bring awareness of Ali’s plight, resulted in many hundreds of drawings that made up a colourful virtual shoal.

Fish added by © Martin Rowson

Barbed contribution from © Steve ‘Jonesy’ Jones

Biting comment by © Steve Bright aka Brighty

Fish caught from Ralph Steadman

Gaol bowl by Australian cartoonist © Cathy Wilcox.

 Contributors included editorial cartoonists from all over the world.

 

Terry Anderson, Simon Ellinas, The Surreal McCoy and Glenn Marshall outside Australia House, London.

 A banner displaying some of the fish ended up at a protest against Ali’s situation outside the Australian High Commission in London.

Some of the fish shoal at Herne Bay Cartoon Festival

The cartoons were also exhibited at Herne Bay Cartoon Festival and formed part of the PCO’s Gagged exhibition on censorship and the repression of cartoonists worldwide at Westminster Library in November 2017.

This event would not be possible without the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN). Thanks are due to them for organising Ali’s trip to London. More can be found about their work here. 

You can follow Ali on facebook

 

 

‘Women In History’ Cartoon Exhibition

February 22, 2019 in Events, General, News

Poster cartoon by © The Surreal MCoy

The PCO is putting on an exhibition in collaboration with Idea Store at Canary Wharf to tie in with Women’s History Month. ‘Women In History’ is an exhibition of cartoons and caricatures based loosely around the theme and also looking more widely at issues affecting women.

Our patron Sandi Toksvig writes:

“Cave paintings were really the first cartoons. The latest analysis of them suggest they were done by women. Perfect! Let’s celebrate Women’s History month with cartoons done by female artists following in the footsteps of the very first art.”

Cartoon by © Sarah Boyce

The show has been curated by PCO committee members The Surreal McCoy and Sarah Boyce (office admin by Glenda Marshall).

Sarah writes:

“We are delighted that Idea Store has given us this space to showcase the work of women cartoonists. It’s been a tough job narrowing down the long list to those that will be on display. We wanted to get a broad range of voices and styles in the exhibition and make sure as many women cartoonists as possible got a chance to participate. Hopefully visitors will enjoy the talent, diversity and humour on display.”

‘Victoria Victorious’ by © Cathy Simpson

Women’s History Month started in schools in California in 1978 to enhance understanding of all women’s contributions to history and society. It centres around International Women’s Day, originally celebrated in 1911 and now a fixture on 8th March. Women’s History Month is now an annual declared month in the UK, USA, Australia and Canada.

Illustration by © Kate Charlesworth

The show has contributions from 20 cartoonists including international submissions from Egypt, Greece and New Zealand.

Isadora Duncan by Athens based cartoonist © Maria Tzaboura 

Those taking part are:

Afraa Alyousef, Sally Artz, Ros Asquith, Sarah Boyce, Kate Charlesworth, Maddie Dai, Tat Effby, Jacky Fleming, Grizelda, Rebecca Hendin, KJ Lamb, Rasha Mahdi, Lorna Miller, Lou McKeever, Danny Noble, Chichi Parish, Martha Richler, Cathy Simpson, The Surreal McCoy and Maria Tzaboura.

Malala Yousafzai with her father by © Rebecca Hendin

The exhibition runs throughout March at:

Idea Store Canary Wharf, Churchill Place, London, E14 5RB.

We’ll be showing many more of the cartoons and drawings from the show on our social media platforms over the next few weeks.

All artwork on display will be available for purchase with 10% of the sales going to Solace Women’s Aid

Cartoon by © Maddie Dai

We’re hoping to put on more exhibitions and events in partnership with Idea Store later in the year.

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.