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[This talk is delivered in Spanish with consecutive English translation]
(Rayma Suprani: Speaks Spanish)
Cloe Shasha: When I was a little girl,
I used to draw on all the walls of my house.
(RS: Speaks Spanish)
CS: Until one day, my mother got angry and told me,
"You can only draw on one wall.
Don't draw on any others."
(Speaks Spanish)
That was the first time I experienced an act of totalitarian censorship.
(Speaks Spanish)
But a lack of freedom stimulates creativity and empowers it.
(Speaks Spanish)
Many years have passed since my childhood,
but throughout my formal studies,
I found myself drawing in the margins of my notebooks
instead of paying attention to my professors.
I studied journalism in college
with the intention of expanding my communication and writing skills,
but the only thing that I felt connected to in life
was drawing.
(Speaks Spanish)
I was born in a democracy,
in a country called Venezuela, which is now a dictatorship.
(Speaks Spanish)
For 19 years,
I was the daily cartoonist for "El Universal,"
one of the biggest newspapers in Venezuela.
I really enjoyed translating political and cultural current events into drawings.
(Speaks Spanish)
In the year 2014,
I got fired from my job at the newspaper over a cartoon that I drew
alluding to the health care system in Venezuela.
I drew a flat line of a heartbeat monitor,
but I intentionally drew the heartbeat line
in a way that resembled the signature of Hugo Chavez,
the former president of Venezuela.
(Speaks Spanish)
All of this happened after the newspaper was bought
by an unknown company,
and some of us suspect
that it was the Venezuelan government who was behind that deal.
(Speaks Spanish)
My work as a cartoonist became more and more of a nuisance
for the dictatorship.
They have no tolerance for any freedom of expression
or free thinking.
(Speaks Spanish)
After I got fired,
I started to feel unsafe in my own country.
I received anonymous calls and death threats.
I was mocked publicly on national television.
I was eventually forced out of Venezuela,
and I now live in Miami, Florida,
where I am free to be my own editor for my work.
(Speaks Spanish)
A political cartoon is a barometer of freedom in a country.
That's why dictators hate cartoonists
and try to eradicate everything that involves humor
as a mirror for social and political issues.
(Speaks Spanish)
A cartoon involves a delicate balance of ideas and drawings
that reveal a hidden truth.
(Speaks Spanish)
And a good cartoon is one that conveys a plot of a full-length movie
in a single frame.
(Speaks Spanish)
A cartoon needs to communicate the core of a story with its precision.
And when it succeeds,
its message can have the effect of inoculating people
with a dose of skepticism.
(Speaks Spanish)
Cartoons are drawn from observation and analysis.
They are inspired by muses of mythology,
as well as classical, modern and paleolithic tales.
When we are told that a modern-day emperor is wearing new clothes,
cartoons reveal that the emperor just might still be naked.
(Speaks Spanish)
At one point in my career,
I drew pigs and compared them with politicians and national guards
who were responsible for stopping peaceful student demonstrations.
One day, when I got back to my office,
I had a letter on my desk.
(Speaks Spanish)
The letter was from the Venezuelan Swine Federation.
(Speaks Spanish)
The letter said,
"Please do not compare an animal as wonderful as a pig with politicians.
Pigs are very friendly and noble,
they can be a great mascot,
they make good pets
and they provide sustenance to us in the form of pork."
(Speaks Spanish)
I think they were absolutely right.
I didn't draw any more pigs,
but I did keep drawing politicians.
(Speaks Spanish)
A cartoon travels on an information highway,
which seems like it has multiple lanes,
but in reality, all of these lanes
lead to a binary response of either positivity or rage.
"I like it" or "I don't like it."
Those are the only responses
that govern democratic thinking on the internet.
(Speaks Spanish)
We have lost the space for nuanced debate,
we have no time,
so we simply respond with approval or disdain,
and we let algorithms take over.
(Speaks Spanish)
But a cartoon is born from a space of deep, nuanced thinking.
Creating a good cartoon involves repeated failures,
draft after draft.
And a cartoonist must shed their own taboos
to spark a conversation, rather than a confrontation,
through their work.
(Speaks Spanish)
In the year 2013, President Chavez died,
and I had to think about what to draw as the cartoon of the day
at "El Universal."
I was personally happy that he had passed away,
because I thought that the end of his power
would potentially bring our country closer to freedom and better times.
(Speaks Spanish)
But there were many other people who were mourning the death of Chavez,
so there was a divided sentiment in Venezuela.
Some were celebrating,
and others were crying at the loss of their leader.
(Speaks Spanish)
I felt stuck,
I really didn't know what to draw in this historic moment.
And I knew that I couldn't allow my happiness to seep into my work,
that I should take the higher road and respect people's grief.
So what could I draw?
(Speaks Spanish)
I spent many hours drafting and throwing out papers.
My editor called me and said
everything was late for that day's newspaper
and asked me when I'd be done.
It was in the middle of the night that the idea came to me.
And we then published a cartoon
that represented a historical moment in time.
(Speaks Spanish)
A fallen king chess piece in red.
(Speaks Spanish)
A good cartoon has a lot of power.
It can generate action and reaction.
That's why a cartoonist must exercise their power responsibly,
showcasing the truth
and drawing without the fear of consequences.
(Speaks Spanish)
Having an opinion has a cost,
and in some countries, that cost is high.
(Speaks Spanish)
In Venezuela,
many young people have been killed for protesting peacefully.
There are men and women who are stuck behind bars
as political prisoners.
So over the years,
I've drawn the faces of imprisoned women,
because I don't want them to be forgotten by the community.
(Speaks Spanish)
This year at an event called El Foro Penal,
which is a criminal forum
where a group of lawyers do pro bono work
for Venezuelan political prisoners,
a young woman approached me and she said,
"I was imprisoned,
and then you drew my face and my story.
It's because of that drawing that people knew who I was.
Your cartoon helped me survive my days in prison.
Thank you."
(Speaks Spanish)
This was a moment that meant a lot to me,
because I had found a way to collaborate
with the memories of my country and its people.
(Speaks Spanish)
Last year, I started making drawings about immigration.
I drew my own world, my fears,
my suitcase, my roots
and everything that I had to leave behind in Venezuela.
I also drew my joy in the face of this new opportunity
as an immigrant in the United States.
(Speaks Spanish)
From there, I worked on a series of drawings
that represented the experience and psychology of immigration.
(Speaks Spanish)
Being an immigrant is like moving to another planet.
At first, you don't understand anything about your new world.
There are new codes, a new language
and unfamiliar tools you need to learn how to use
in order to adapt to your new life.
(Speaks Spanish)
Being an immigrant is the closest thing to being an astronaut
who landed on the moon.
(Speaks Spanish)
Over time, that series of drawings became a traveling exhibition,
called "I, Immigrant."
And the exhibition traveled to multiple cities,
including Miami, Houston, Madrid, Barcelona,
and we're hoping for more places.
(Speaks Spanish)
The show has become a meeting space for the diaspora,
for people to gather and recognize their shared experiences of suffering
that come with immigration.
(Speaks Spanish)
What I want these drawings to convey
is that an immigrant is not a criminal.
An immigrant is a person whose life has been broken.
A person who has very likely been separated from their family
under inhumane conditions.
Who has been forced to leave their country in search of a better life.
(Speaks Spanish)
A drawing can be a synthesis of a place,
a universe, a country or a society.
It can also represent the inner workings of someone's mind.
For me, drawing cartoons is a form of resistance.
(Speaks Spanish)
A cartoon is like a Rosetta stone.
If we throw it into outer space,
a future alien would be able to know with certainty
that in the past,
we once had a civilized world with free thinking.
(Speaks Spanish)
That one wall that my mother gave me the freedom to draw on feels infinite.
And it's for that reason that I am still drawing.
Thank you very much.
(Cheers and applause)


Dictators hate political cartoons -- so I keep drawing them | Rayma Suprani

11 分類 收藏
林宜悉 發佈於 2020 年 3 月 28 日
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