GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Cartoonists for Peace have a terrific display of posters along the shores of Lake Geneva, stretching from the Mont Blanc bridge area up to the World Trade Organization, that runs until 3 June. The display includes posters by four Iranian cartoonists who were awarded the first International Editorial Cartoon Prize 3 May in Geneva.
Ten days ago another Iranian cartoonist was sentenced by an Iranian court to 20 lashes, the first such sentence for a cartoonist.
Two of the international award winners were condemned to jail in Iran in the past.
The award and the poster display show cartoons that are in sharp contrast to a suggestion published 25 May in Zimbabwe’s The Herald newspaper, a call for a comic book or cartoons to depict the country’s Liberation in order to offset negative stories about it outside Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is routinely the subject of accusations of repression and perhaps not surprisingly the newspaper points out that the country has few cartoonists and little tradition of cartooning.
“The Zimbabwean story still needs to be illustrated, particularly now that there is lots of interest in whatever is happening in the country and just as much unverifiable information on the web. Comics have an advantage over data presentations because they employ both text and images and the combination is so powerful that they have the ability to capture the imagination of a reader more than anything else.”
The article in the Herald unwittingly includes a tie to Geneva, for it mentions the father of modern editorial cartooning, Rudolf Topffer of Geneva. Geneva’s role in the cartooning business has remained strong: Patrick Chappatte, a member of the jury for the international cartooning award, in April won the Thomas Nast Award 2011, given by the Overseas Press Club of America. It is the first time the award was given to a non-US cartoonist since the prize was created in 1968.
GenevaLunch has been publishing Chappatte’s cartoons since 2006.