CULTURE

Confessions from a political cartoonist: ‘EU has made us soft’

In Santorini’s Megalochori, the cultural center Philochoria is currently hosting a cartoon exhibition. In the handsome and welcoming premises, eight French and 14 Greek creators are presenting their ebullient work in Oh! These Women. The exhibition runs to September 15. These are cartoon confessions of male creators keenly attuned to the opposite sex, encompassing a variety of different feelings from humor to sweetness and revenge, bitterness, admiration and sarcasm. One of the participating artists is French cartoonist Kiro. Born in Marseilles, Kiro is a regular contributor to prominent French political publications and seems to be sharply attuned to both human and inanimate subjects. While the conversation is conducted in French, his command of Greek, which he taught himself in Paris, is also fairly strong. What I really like about your country is that it resembles total chaos. Everyone is free to do as he or she pleases and one gets the feeling that there is more freedom here in comparison to other countries in the Western world, says Kiro. Of course this can also be irritating, but in any case it is interesting. His drawings – or caricatures as he refers to his own productions – are of a political nature. I haven’t learnt to do anything else, working on all of my assignments under the political prism. Unfortunately, today no one is able to publish something which might be shocking, which might have the power to shake things a little, he says. The European Union has made us soft. There is no reaction to what goes on around us. As time goes by we are becoming more and more like the Americans, increasingly politically correct. When editors have at their disposal an amazing, but at the same time harsh cartoon, they choose not to publish it, afraid it might be accompanied by lawsuits. According to the cartoonist, the future of his profession is far from secure. Slowly, cartoons will disappear, as it is photography and images that travel fast today. I think we will be able to live without cartoons, says Kiro, adding, In any case, a good cartoon has to be of an extreme and arrogant nature and given the situation today, there is no room for such expression.