Political cartoons seen as a bridge of cultures

t a recent press conference, Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis presented the ministry’s initiative to organize an exhibition of political cartoons, drawn from international sources, for the first time in Greece. «Political cartoons cast a critical eye on the world with the use of exaggeration and twist facial features or elements of reality. In their unique way, they provide a balance in political life and in democracy itself,» he said. The fall event will end with awards for the best cartoons on October 24, a date that coincides with the United Nations’s 60th anniversary. «We thought that political cartoons can also function as a bridge by bringing out the issue of setting limits, beyond which one’s identity or values can be offended,» said Christos Zachopoulos, secretary-general of the Ministry of Culture, who also provided an opportunity to the cartoonists present to share their views on the controversial Muhammad cartoon. «We put on the FECO (Federation of Cartoonists Organizations) website the Danish artist’s cartoons, or Allah cartoons. Our aim was to provoke because cartoons are primarily an act of provocation, however, without wanting to offend others,» said FECO President Marlene Pohle. In your face «There are about 250 other sketches that provided commentary on the well-known Allah cartoons. Not all of them are of good quality, but they demonstrate that a cartoonist’s viewpoint is always timely and in your face,» said Portuguese cartoonist at Le Monde Carlos Brito. «Cartoons are a medium that reflect the world,» said Sweden’s Riber Hansson. Voulgarakis also announced his upcoming meeting with Getty Museum Director Michael Brand on May 16, which he described as very important, «given that we are engaged in a dialogue regarding the museum’s Greek exhibits and matters concerning Greece in general. «I must stress that we are particularly interested in the return of Greek antiquities,» he said, choosing his words carefully.