and the Rest of the World
While the Syrian Regime and its Russian allies continue to bomb civilians in the North of Syria, the world has witnessed quite a dramatic year in 2020, from the devastating explosion in Beirut to populist politics in the USA, the murder of George Floyd and the recent terrorist attacks in France. Syrian cartoonists, in Syria and in exile, have been responding, documenting and commenting on these global events, keeping Syria at the heart of their work, especially as the Syrian issue falls by the wayside in mainstream media.
Alone but together, Syrian cartoonists continue to play their role as global citizens, standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement for example, and reflecting on the most wide reaching event of the year worldwide: Coronavirus!
This new virtual exhibition features more than a hundred new cartoons by 33 Syrian artists in collaboration with Cartooning Syria, a project that started in 2017 in Amsterdam and has held several exhibitions across the Netherlands, Norway and Germany. This is Cartooning Syria’s first virtual exhibition.
The revised and expanded edition of the book Cartooning Syria features 156 cartoons by 39 Syrian cartoonists, together with cartoons from Dutch, Flemish, Norwegian and German colleagues. You will also find articles about Syrian cartoonists and cartoons and the meaning of cartoons in general. The book is dedicated to Palestian-Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan (1974-2013) who was imprisoned and killed in Syrian prisons and to cartoonist-activist Raed Fares (1972-2018) who was killed in the streets of Kafranbel, Syria. If you want to get a copy of the book, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Unsurprisingly, the situation in Syria, both politically and for people on the grounds, has been at the centre of Syrian cartoonists' attention, especially as the bombings of Idlib continues on a daily basis, unnoticed international media.
Many Syrian cartoonists know Beirut like the back of their hand, a city that to them symbolises resilience and hope. It is therefore expected that their work would reflect the pain resulting from the explosion at Beirut Port on 4 August 2020.
Surely, it’s not just Syrian cartoonists who view the coronavirus pandemic has a hugely relevant political context which they see as their responsibility to highlight and expose…
Donald Trump will, for ever, be one of the most controversial characters in the history of politics, a man whose hair, as well as other things about him, gave Syrian cartoonists a lot of ideas!
Black Lives Matter
The struggle against all forms of racism, discrimination and injustice is arguably what cartooning is all about. The killing of George Floyd on 25 May 2020 and the following protests Syrian cartoonists, themselves ‘experts by experience’ of what injustice feels like.
The Syrian people have arguably suffered more from terrorism, including state terrorism, more than any other people in the 21st century. Freedom of speech and expression has been one of the main reasons the 2011 Syrian Revolution broke out. Syrian cartoonists’ standing against terrorism and with freedom of speech is therefore inevitable.
The chairs in Syrian cartoons symbolize the abuse power in politics, from the early beginnings as a metaphor under censorship in Syria. Now as an icon for all dictatorships.
The chair in Syrian’ consciousness and conversations has always been a symbol of the authoritarian nature of the regime and the corruption and abuse of power by government figures and other politicians in Syria and abroad.