The art of political cartooning at the Alliance Française

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Art

The art of political cartooning at the Alliance Française


William Rasoanaivo, alias “Pov”, Malagasy designer from the Alliance Française de Nairobi. PICTURES | BOWL

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Summary

  • The exhibition they came to see is part of a Euro-African educational initiative designed by Buni Media [founded by Gado in 2009] and the International Network of Cartoonists.
  • Featuring a fabulous range of colorful and controversial political cartoons from across Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa, the exhibition specifically focuses on democracy-related political cartoons and freedom of expression.
  • Of the approximately 60 international artists whose provocative political cartoons are on display, all address the challenges facing the media in light of a world that seems determined to restrict democracy and freedom of expression.

Two of Kenya’s top cartoonists were honored last Friday night when the French Ministry of Culture honored them for their immense contribution to the art of satire and freedom of expression.

Attending the opening of the exhibition on ‘Cartooning for Peace and Democracy’, Godfrey Mwampembwa aka Gado and Paul Kelemba aka Maddo were taken by surprise at the Alliance Française when the French Ambassador to Kenya, Alice Kuster-Merager awarded them Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters (Chivalry in the Order of Arts and Letters).

“I was surprised and delighted by this recognition,” said Maddo, who publishes a full page of satirical visual commentary on local politics and headlines every Saturday in the Kenyan press.

“We don’t tell ourselves that we are that important, but when we are appreciated by a foreign government, we are humbled,” he said. BDLife.

Gado was also surprised.

“When you receive this kind of praise after these many years, you feel humbled and honoured. But we also remember to stay grounded and feel that we receive it on behalf of all Kenyan cartoonists,” he said. declared.

The exhibition they came to see is part of a Euro-African educational initiative designed by Buni Media [founded by Gado in 2009] and the International Network of Cartoonists.

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Patrick Chappatte, the work of a Lebanese-Swiss cartoonist. PICTURES | BOWL

Featuring a fabulous range of colorful and controversial political cartoons from across Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa, the exhibition specifically focuses on democracy-related political cartoons and freedom of expression.

From Kenya, seven award-winning cartoonists are represented, including Celeste, Gaddo, GaMMZ (Eric Ngamau), Ozone, Stano and Victor Ndula. Other African cartoonists represented came from Burkina Faso, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda.

And of the approximately 60 international artists whose provocative political cartoons are on display, all address the challenges facing the media in light of a world that seems determined to restrict democracy and freedom of expression.

The exhibition and the wider civic education program taking place at the same time came about in light of World Press Day on May 3 and concerns over Kenya’s upcoming elections in August.

The civics program designed expressly to appeal to young people, many students, continues until the show ends on May 29.

“We hope to expand this program with the support of our sponsors,” Gado said during a panel Saturday on the debatable topic, “Democracy is an ass.” These supporters include the EU, UNESCO, the French, Sudanese and Swiss embassies, the Italian Institute of Culture, the Alliance Française and several others.

The program itself consists of a series of workshops, panels and masterclasses on political cartooning aimed particularly at university and secondary school students. The first masterclasses were held at Daystar University and the University of Nairobi.

Topics covered included facts, fake news, opinions, the role of cartooning and journalism in democracy, and concern for freedom of expression.

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Lassane Zohoré, an Ivorian designer works at the Alliance Française in Nairobi. PICTURES | BOWL

On Saturday’s panel, one of the speakers was Bina Maseno, a 32-year-old aspiring politician who spoke about the harassment she faced campaigning for a seat in her County Assembly when she was n was only 23 years old.

“It would appear that gender-based violence at political rallies has been normalized,” said Ms. Maseno who noted that women were particularly targeted; however, there were no prosecutions against the assailants.

Another important panel which included Maddo, Ozone, Victor Ndula, Dr. Tom Odhiambo, Patrick Gathara and Alaa Satir from Sudan, was on a central theme of political cartooning, namely “Satire as a tool for civic engagement”.

What Buni Media and Cartooning for Peace have also done is create a clear, comprehensive yet simplified educational booklet for teachers and political cartoonists to train students in the art of “Cartooning for Peace and political democracy” as well as the foundations of good journalism. .

Cartooning for Peace is an international network of press cartoonists engaged in the fight for democracy and freedom of expression. It was founded by Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the UN and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, with the French cartoonist Plantu alias Jean Plantureux.

“Editorial cartooning is a barometer of freedom of expression,” Plantu said when the network launched in 2006.

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