License to draw | Xia and Paresh from Cartooning for Peace
In 2015, ASEF culture360 invites you to get an insight on issues that are highly discussed in the cultural sector across Asia and Europe.
Through a number of in-depth articles and interviews, Magali An BERTHON will initiate a reflexion about a creative generation which connects arts, design, crafts and social responsibility. She will introduce European and Asian personalities and initiatives, which offer original and inspiring answers to a globalized world.
Cartooning for Peace was founded in 2006 on the initiative of French reknown cartoonist Plantu and former UN Secretary General Kofi ANNAN. This international organization advocates for the freedom of expression through political and satirical cartoons. The network of committed draughtsmen supports the work of cartoonists through exhibitions, talks and publications, eager to show a diversity of points of view from around the world. This network keeps expanding! Each year the editorial committee welcome a dozen of newcomers who applied to join.
Cartoons and drawings have become a powerful communication device that are very effective in capturing the major situations gripping the world. Economical crisis, social justice issues, natural disasters, global environmental decisions... Cartoonists draw their inspiration from current events, offering their critical, humorous and often ironical opinions with only a pen, a brush and a strip of paper.
Paresh NATH and Lichuan XIA, one man and one woman, one Indian and one Chinese, and both highly regarded members of Cartooning for Peace. They agreed to share their experience and current projects for Culture 360.
LICHUAN XIA (CHINA)
[caption id="attachment_55780" align="aligncenter" width="202"] Xia - self portrait[/caption]
Lichuan XIA started her career in “Humor and Satire” a branch of the journal People's Daily in Beijing. Since 2001, she officiates as the editorial cartoonist and art director of Caijing Magazine, a Chinese business publication. In 2011 she was awarded of the Honoré-Daumier Prize in Caen, France. She is the only Chinese member of Cartooning for Peace.
[caption id="attachment_55779" align="aligncenter" width="300"] ©Xia[/caption]
- What is the topic in the news you would like to draw?
Recently the Nobel Prize winner Youyou TU—the first Chinese scientist who was inspired by ancient Chinese remedies—gathered such a worldwide interest promoting a combination of innovation and tradition. China is always at the center of the world's attention on economical, environmental or cultural topics. This happened in a moment where the country is challenged internationally with the newly-signed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) involving twelve countries including the United States. Between China's breakthrough in science and its global economical positioning, I would like to compose a cartoon about this topic.
- How are cartoons and press illustrations considered in China?
To my opinion, press cartoons and illustrations are on the way to become one of the most popular forms of expression.
[caption id="attachment_55778" align="aligncenter" width="300"] ©Xia[/caption]
- Is there a new generation of cartoonists rising in your country?
As far as I know, most of the new generation of cartoonists in China are rather naive. They concentrate on the gag cartoons and illustrations, mainly influenced by manga or gaming.
- And you, what made you want to become a cartoonist?
At the beginning, I was only drawing cartoons for pleasure. Their humour, colourful imagination and depth of thoughts are so amazing. By accident, my chief editor asked me to have a column of press cartoon for our magazine. So in addition to my work as an art director, I also started to draw some cartoons.
[caption id="attachment_55777" align="aligncenter" width="202"] Paresh self-portrait[/caption]
Paresh NATH is an experienced cartoonist and caricature artist of Indian origin. His work has been shown extensively in international publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Courrier International. He also won the U.N. Awards (Ranan Lurie Political Cartoon Award) in 2000 and 2001. He was in charge of the illustrations at the Herald Tribune in India from 1990 to 2005, and since 2005 he works for Khaleej Times, a daily news in English published in Dubai and in the United Arab Emirates.
[caption id="attachment_55775" align="aligncenter" width="600"] ©Paresh[/caption]
- What are the topics you are the most concerned about in the news?
Nowadays the current topics are the refugee crisis, issue of Syria, terror of Islamic State/DAESH, armed conflict and threat to world peace – on which I shall like to make research and draw on.
- How do Indians consider cartoon and press illustrations?
Press cartoons are the most popular forms of expression as they both inform and entertain people. The effect or response is also immediate- a chuckling or burst of laughter. Also the printed version makes an impact in the reader’s mind.
[caption id="attachment_55776" align="aligncenter" width="620"] ©Paresh[/caption]
- Is there a new generation of cartoonists rising in India?
The younger generation is exposed to social media and they get a craze in being involved in it. A good cartoon or animation goes viral through media. Hence the craze to impress people or spread one’s creativity is the trend among new generation of cartoonists.
- And you, what made you want to become a cartoonist?
The cartoonist is like a communicator. He has to communicate both to the people and the government. He analyses and depicts government policies to the people and highlights people's problems for the government to take care.
To create awareness, mobilise the audiences and touch the people with a universal mode of thought through wit, irony and humour the cartoon is the best and powerful medium. As a creative person I wanted to express better through my cartoons-be it world politics, economy, trade, environment, sports, international relations or war. Hence to bring an impact in the society I became a cartoonist.
Magali An BERTHON is a French Vietnamese textile designer and editor based in Paris. Graduate of the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris, she has gathered a valuable experience as a textile designer for fashion and home collections. She finds inspiration in her many travels especially in South-East Asia and has developed a deep interest for ethnic arts & crafts, natural fabrics and dyes. In parallel, she works as a writer and documentarist specialized particularly on textile know-how from all over the world.