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.
One for each of Mandela’s years of imprisonment
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Eddie Izzard is coming to town next year – I recently posted an interview with this amazing British actor, comedian and political activist. His stage presence is enough to impress, but his passion for running for causes he supports is simply remarkable. Here’s what he wrote last week, as he headed out the door on a marathon of marathons. ”
“Starting on Tuesday 15 May 2012, I will attempt to run 27 marathons in 27 days, as a small tribute to Nelson Mandela and 27 years he spent in prison. The marathons will be run all over South Africa in areas that resonate with his life including: Mvezo, Qunu, Fort Hare, Johannesburg, Soweto, Pretoria, Rivonia, Cape Town and Robben Island where he was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years.”
Tickets for the 2013 Eddie Izzard shows in Geneva and Zurich: International Comedy Club web site
LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – Charlie Chaplin has been invited to Waterford, in the south of Ireland, for what looks like a promising party this summer. Vevey and environs might want to look west, to check out the party, suggests Peter Dennehy, a Lake Geneva region fan who is currently with the Irish Nursing Board, An Bord Altranais.
“In Memory of Charlie Chaplin” will be the first annual Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival, with the patronage of Josephine Chaplin, the filmmaker’s daughter, in the village of Waterville in August.
Waterville, the Kerry seaside village that Charlie Chaplin loved, according to the organizerse, “is holding this festival to honour the life and work of the master comedian and filmmaker, whose legacy remains both relevant and influential to comedy today.”
The four-day festival “is packed with really creative events including premieres, film screenings, parades, talks, workshops, street entertainment, the Film Awards Ceremony, Gala Ball, the Tramps’ Ball, 1920′s themed parties and much more,” according to the festival web site.
Can I really say hat’s off to shoes? Of course, and where else but in China, where shoes seem to have gone to designers’ heads, at CHIC (China’s International Clothing and Accessories Fair). Decide for yourself: check out Xinhua’s photos of some of the winners.
What a shame that interesting, wonderful neighbours or near-neighbours have to die before you know they are there. This is more likely to happen in Switzerland than just about any place I know, because even we nosy journalists are often unaware of celebrities living next door, which is, of course, why they are living in Switzerland.
Lully, not to be confused with nearby Lussy, both sur-Morges meaning up the hill from the town of Morges in canton Vaud, was until this week home to an extraordinary man, Hugues Cuenod. He died at the age of 108 sometime between 3 and 6 December, reportedly in Vevey. His age was extraordinary. He was a world-famous tenor, also extraordinary. He sang until he was in his 90′s, meaning he sang for most of the 20th century, which is so special there is no word for it. I read all of that, except for his hometown, in the New York Times, which gave him a proper Famous Arty Person obituary. It pointed out that he made his Metropolitan Opera debut at the age of 85, a feat no one has equalled, before or since.
But then I learned from the Telegraph in the UK that he lived in the Chateau de Lully, and I tried to picture this world traveller, a sophisticated man in his 90′s, using his famous voice, warming up in a chateau old enough to make him feel young, surrounded by fields and vineyards and Swiss cows and discreet villagers tending their geraniums and garden herbs, and I wondered how he felt about being reduced to old age.
And then I read further in the Telegraph: “Hugues Cuénod lived with his partner, Alfred Augustin, in the Château de Lully, an 18th-century castle in the Vaud region of Switzerland. In 2007, when Cuénod was 104, changes in Swiss law allowed same-sex couples to marry, and he and Augustin entered into a civil union.”
Clearly, old age was not viewed by Monsieur Cuénod as a sentence to inaction.
I’m grateful that my neighbour, whom I wish I had crossed paths with while out walking, has left a beautiful audio trail: you can listen to him on NPR. If you ever hear that Switzerland has no artists, just keep in mind that while they don’t always take centre stage, they have very much enriched the world stage. Monsieur Cuénod, chapeau, chapeau.
Hugues Cuénod in a bright and lovely pre-war recording with Nadia Boulanger, Chiome d’oro by Claudio Monteverdi.
And just to show his dexterity, for despite loving ancient music Hugues Cuénod was a brilliant interpreter of modern composers including Satie,Debussy and Britten, here he sings Polenc
Three cheers for flickr’s featured photographer group for choosing Overthemoon, a Vevey resident and regular contributor to GenevaLunch, as this week’s top image-maker. Overthemoon’s photos appear regularly in our flickr box and she has also provided illustrations for articles, including “Vevey puts Chaplin on its walls”, 28 September 2010.
South AfricanKwaito star Howza sings a tale of diabetes
Here’s the blurb from the official “I choose to live” music video, out 9 November for World Diabetes Day 14 November: “Written and performed by South African Kwaito star, Howza (Tshepo Mosese), the song is about the impact of diabetes on the world and the importance of prevention.
The song, written and performed with fellow South African artist Omen (Sabelo Mzizi) also includes the voices of the Grammy Award winning Soweto Gospel Choir.
First performed in Johannesburg at the Diabetes Leadership Forum Africa 2010, “I choose to live” received such an immense response that global pharmaceutical company, Novo Nordisk decided to support Tshepo in driving his message forward.
The popular singer and actor, who currently presents a local TV programme, was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2003. Since then, he has made it one of his life missions, to increase awareness of this disease at home and across the globe.”
What the blurb doesn’t say is that the song also features the well-known Soweto Gospel Choir, who lost a member to diabetes in 2003.
Two artists are currently showing us flowers and plant life in very different ways, but to the same end: drawing our attention to a part of the world around us that we too easily take for granted.
Click on images to view larger
One is local botanical artist Gusta van Dobbenburgh, whose luminous and elegantly delicate paintings of garden beauties have now been brought together in a fine “Botanicalendar” with Lausanne designer Sue Niewiarowski as the calendar designer. The artist recently had an exhibit at EPFL in Lausanne, “Where art and science meet”.
The calendar sells for CHF25 directly from the artist and it is also on sale for slightly more at the Vullierens Iris Garden gift shop near Morges, which has a spectacular show of several thousand irises on view until 13 June.
“Wonderland: Rediscovering the Garden”
The flower images which feature in artist Mary Tiegreen’s New York exhibition, “Wonderland: Rediscovering the Garden”, are simply the most stupendous flower portraits I have ever seen, and I do a good deal of garden photography and follow the work of others.
Mary Tiegreen’s flowers are complemented by an extraordinary lineup of vegetables and small treasure “finds” from her garden on the Hudson, not far north of Manhattan. Her husband is Swiss, his family lives in Europe, and the couple spend time each year in the Lake Geneva region.
If you’re in New York City 1-14 June, put the exhibit on your agenda. It is hosted by the National Arts Club in its garden court.
These are not flowers that Tiegreen is presenting, but glimpses into a secret miniature world, with access provided by her desktop scanner, used in the dark. She has a good eye and a sound knowledge of technology. She uses both to shrink us down to Lilliputian size compared to the garden treasures.
These are portraits by the artist as a marvelling, humble gardener. The sense of joy given by her garden to the artist is clear in the images, as is her sense of perception, reversed from our everyday relations with these objects. We are small: nature is suddenly grand.
The portraits are huge, for a start—larger than life doesn’t quite describe them: 40 x 60 inches ( 1m x 1.27m) for a single bloom. The detail is extraordinary, something you don’t achieve with normal photography, and the lighting casts a magic of its own, especially noticeable with the white flowers. The result is breathtaking.
The portraits on canvas sell in limited editions (and yes, they can be shipped internationally, although not cheaply). If you have a large wall space and want to bring a greener world indoors, this is a spectacular way to do it.
Tiegreen is a designer, author and photographer who has worked in New York since 1978.
She has been capturing seasonal visitors to her garden north of the city since 1995.
Her up-close portraits include poppies, peonies, magnolias, calla lilies, a variety of tulips, morning glories, heirloom tomatoes, dragon tongue beans and objects found in the garden which have become part of it, each observed and captured for the marvel of nature that it is—if only we pause to really look.
“After more than 15 years of living in Manhattan, we moved to a small village on the Hudson and I rediscovered nature in a big way. I found a sense of wonder that I had misplaced, coming back again to my childhood summers in Northern Michigan, where I loved communing with pine cones and minnows and maidenhair ferns,” says the artist.
Exhibition: “Wonderland: Rediscovering the Garden”: free and open to the public
1-14 June 2010 (opening reception 3 June, 18:00-20:00)
National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy South, New York City
Sponsored by WINGS WorldQuest, a non-profit organization that recognizes and supports visionary women who are advancing scientific inquiry and environmental conservation
[correction, 7 March: music played for the encoreI have rarely been so blown away at a classical music concert as I was last night, 2 March, at Geneva's Victoria Hall. Mélodie Zhao turned composer Frédéric Chopin's complete 27 Etudes into something I didn't know the collection had the capacity to be: magnificently passionate. The romantic music, which in some pianists' hands verges on the saccharine, last night would have made the composer proud, I feel certain. It's easy to go into a Zhao concert being impressed by her technical skills and poise on stage as a 15-year-old, but Tuesday night it was impossible to come out even remembering her age, for her stage performance and the music that filled the hall were those of a mature artist. "She's a genius," said the woman next to me, coming out of the hall. "Unbelievable!" another exclaimed to her companion.
I've heard her practice and I have the excellent CDs with 24 Etudes, made when she was only 13, but seeing her perform live, and with two years more musical maturity, transformed the music. Happy 200th birthday, Mr Chopin!
Two strong ovations from the crowd brought her back to play Chopin's Andante spianato and Grand Polonaise Brillante op.22., where she displayed yet more of her dazzling talent.
We all looked drained as we flocked into the lobby, for watching Zhao in person is like being a privileged spectator as shifting winds and sunlight dance over an open sea. To my great surprise, the young pianist was already seated at a table and signing autographs for a large crowd, with an enthusiasm and energy that didn’t show any strain from what has to have been a physically daunting performance!
Background: GenevaLunch feature on Mélodie Zhao
Review in Le Temps (Fre)
Kudos to what is now known as the tenthousandmiles (Mao, Motorbikes and a Yak) team, putting together a documentary on their adventures riding from Lhasa in Tibet to Shanghai on motorcycles: Global Times in Beijing has just published a feature article on them. GenevaLunch hosted an event in September 2009 with Liam Bates talking about the trip (he occasionally contributes travel stories to GenevaLunch).