London’s Westminster Reference Library To Celebrate The Great And The Gagged

This Tuesday sees the launch at the Westminster Reference Library for the exhibition Gagged, exhibiting censored comics and cartoons from around the world. Running until the 1st of December, it will also hold two free events, include a workshop next Saturday with cartoonists Banx and The Surreal McCoy, and a week on Tuesday will feature a talk with cartoonist Andy Davey and Index CEO Jodie Ginsberg.

In a statement from Professional Cartoonist’s Organisation, the chair Bill Stott writes:

Repressive governments the world over fear cartoonists. Cartoonists get straight to the point. Images remain in the public eye longer than do acres of type. Whilst we in the UK and Europe generally accept often excoriating depictions of our leaders, this is definitely not the case in the rest of the world. Here, politicians actually applaud critical and often insulting drawings of themselves, sometimes even assembling personal collections thereof. Not so elsewhere. In at least one verified instance, a foreign cartoonist was visited by government agents and had his hands broken. Doubtless there are others. Repressive governments, fearful of the truth, regularly imprison cartoonists.

The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation [UK] works with other agencies – in this instance alongside Cartoonists’ Rights Network International and Index on Censorship – to try to bring the plight of persecuted cartoonists to the fore. This exhibition seeks to do that. Whilst it is not easy to highlight a repressive government’s treatment of any given cartoonist because that government will often react by threatening the cartoonist’s family and friends, any and all proceeds from this exhibition will go towards trying to alleviate the conditions many cartoonists the world over have to live with.

Anyone going into London for the Doomsday Clock #1 launches and finds themselves there a little early might like to pop by and see what’s what. Who watches the watchmen, after all…

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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