Saturday, October 28, 2006

Tabriz 6th International Cartoon Contest - Kings


1- Theme: Kings

2- Number of works: Max. 5

3- Size: Max. A3

4- Only the originals of the works will be accepted.

5- Deadline: February 4, 2007

6- Works will be judged on February 20, 2007.

7- Prizes:
First winner: 1000 Euro
Second winner: 500 Euro
Third winner: 250 Euro
10 cartoons will be appreciated and awarded.

8- The reverse side of the cartoon should bear the surname, forename, complete address, email, and telephone number of the entrant. A photo should be added. Only the works which are received by the organization's secretariat in Tabriz by February 4, 2007, will be taken into account.

9- A selection of received works will be displayed on Results also will be announced there.

10- An exhibition of cartoons will be held on March 1, 2007 in MirAli Tabrizi Gallery, Yasemi Gallery, and Tajrobeh Hall.

11- Address:
Tabriz Cartoon Association,
Tabriz Art & Culture Center, 29 Bahman Blvd.,
Tabriz, IRAN

Thursday, October 19, 2006

GADO at the UN

Daily Nation cartoonist Godfrey "GADO" Mwampembwa this week was at the UN headquarters in New York to participate in a seminar entitled "Cartooning for Peace: The Responsibility of Political Cartoonists?" The seminar, which was organised by the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) in partnership with the Emory University’s Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning, was opened by UN Secretary-General Koffi Anan.

In his address to the seminar, Mr. Anan described cartoons as an" important form of social and political commentary." He also noted that cartoons can cause offense remarking, "that is part of their point." However, he stated his opposition to state regulation of cartoonists' work saying: "Even if we decided to ban all cartoons that are deeply offensive to large numbers of people, we would still be asking the state to make some very subjective judgements and embarking on the slippery slope of censorship." He stated his preference for leaving the decision on what to publish in the hands of editors and cartoonists themselves saying this involved self censorship, "excercised... in a spirit of genuine respect for other people's feelings, not out of fear."

Mr. Anan also warned against "cartoon wars" in which one group publishes cartoons that are offensive to another in retaliation to offenses it believes itself to have suffered. This was a veiled reference to the exhibition of Holocaust cartoons organised by Iran's biggest-selling newspaper, Hamshahri, in retaliation for the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed published in Danish newspapers. During his visit to Iran in September, Mr. Anan raised concerns with Iranian officials over the exhibition.

The New York seminar is part of the “Unlearning Intolerance” series, launched by DPI, and was the brainchild of French cartoonist Plantu (Jean Plantureux). He says the idea for the gathering was born in 1991, when Plantu met then Palestinian leader Yassar Arafat, who drew the Star of David for one of Plantu’s drawings and signed it. “At that time, Yasser Arafat could not say, ‘I recognize the State of Israel,’ and yet, with a blue felt tip pen he drew the Star of David on the Israeli flag,” says the cartoonist. The following year, Plantu traveled to Israel and convinced then-Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres to sign the same drawing. It was the first time that signatures from both the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization had been affixed to the same document prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords. “Since that time, I have thought a great deal about the role of newspaper cartoonists,” Plantu said.

Participating cartoonists came from countries around the world including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Palestine, Switzerland, and the United States.

You can watch archived video of the proceedings here.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Yemen editor 'faces death calls'

Yemeni lawyers have called for a newspaper editor to be sentenced to death for showing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, his paper says.

Muhammad al-Asadi was arrested after his publication, the Yemen Observer, showed the Danish cartoons in February.

He denies the charges of offending Islam, under which he is being tried.

The English-language newspaper has had its licence to publish suspended, although its staff have continued to produce material online.

Lawyers leading a civil case against publishers of the cartoons - in addition to the public case - cited precedents from Muslim history when the prophet was insulted by a woman and then praised her killer.

Prosecutors have reportedly requested that the Yemen Observer be closed permanently and have its property and assets confiscated.

The trial was adjourned until 22 March.

Here We Go Again

Denmark rocked by new cartoon row

The Danish prime minister has denounced the drawing of new cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad by members of an anti-immigration party's youth wing.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen intervened in an apparent effort to prevent a repeat of the widespread protests over similar cartoons a year ago.

Danish People's Party activists were shown on TV drawing the images, which were condemned in the Muslim world.

Iran and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said the new cartoons insulted Islam.

Iran protested to the Danish government on Sunday, saying it was "deplorable that the extremist elements in Danish society have attempted to sabotage Denmark's relations with the Islamic countries once again".

'Tasteless' drawings

The activists were filmed at a summer camp, drinking, singing and taking part in a competition to draw images of Muhammad, including one depicting him as a camel with beer bottles as humps.

The publication a year ago of newspaper cartoons - one depicting Muhammad with a bomb in his turban - led to violent protests in which more than 50 people died in Muslim countries.

Mr Rasmussen, who insisted then that he could not control independent media, condemned the latest drawings as "tasteless" and "unacceptable".

He said the activists' behaviour "in no way represents the way the Danish people... view Muslims or Islam".

Danish Muslim leaders, who last year travelled abroad to rally support for their protests, said they would not be provoked by the latest incident, the BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott reports.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Iranian Daily Shut Down over Cartoon

The Washington Post reports that the above cartoon, titled "The Other Rules of the Game," precipitated the closure of the Iranian national daily Sharq for "publishing articles insulting to religious, political and national figures and fomenting discord in violation of orders of the Supreme National Security Council."

According to the Paris-based Iran Press Service, "most Iranian political analysts, including some of the journalists at the paper said the most important thing that the Government did not like was a cartoon ... showing a chess board where a horse and a donkey, with a halo of light around its head are debating the regime's handling of nuclear issue with the West."

Though cartoonists say the "halo" is actually an effect to separate the animals heads, it seems that censors at the Iranian judiciary have made a link between the donkey in the cartoon and comments by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year that he felt a heavenly beam of light embracing him during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly. Ahmadinejad made the remarks during an exchange with a cleric that was captured on videotape and circulated over the internet. You can view an excerpt here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Can You Take the 24 Hour Comics Challenge?

On October 7, hundreds of cartoonists will gather at different venues around the world to participate in the 24 Hour Comics Day challenge. The aim? To create a complete 24 page comic book in 24 continuous hours. That means everything: Story, finished art, lettering, colors (if you want 'em), paste-up, everything! No sketches, designs, plot summaries or any other kind of direct preparation can precede the 24 hour period though indirect preparation such as assembling tools, reference materials, food, music etc. is fine. Once pen hits paper, the clock starts ticking. 24 hours later, the pen lifts off the paper, never to descend again. Even proofreading has to occur in the 24 hour period. Computer-generated comics are fine of course, same principles applying.

The 24 hour comics challenge was created in 1990 by Scott McCloud, leading comics theoretician and author of Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics. Between 1990 and 2004, people were doing 24 hour comics on their own or in small gatherings for more than a decade. However, we estimated that the number of people who have done them roughly doubled on 2004's inaugural 24 Hour Comics Day, and added a greater number to the list in 2005, with 2006 looking to be bigger still. In 2004, over 500 cartoonists were at work in 57 event locations while in 2005 the event had grown to encompass over 800 cartoonists were at work in 70 event locations. Many more participated from home. This year, official events are planned in 91 locations in 16 countries aropund the world.

While most participants are amateurs, many pro cartoonists take part as well. Past years have seen participation from such big-name artists as former X-Men artist Paul Smith, popular online cartoonist Scott Kurtz (, and Tone Rodriguez (currently working on Conan). While some participants may harbour ambitions of a career as a professional cartoonist, many others are just having fun by trying it.

If any cartoonists in Kenya are interested in participating, please send me an email and we can see how we can organise a venue. For more information on the event, please click here.