A few days before the Referendum on whether Britain shall or shall not remain in the European Union (June 23, 2016, is the exact date it will be held on), Britain’s most famous political cartoonists will present their original cartoon artwork inspired by this topic. In order for you to enjoy the political cartoon exhibition in London called EU must be Joking!, maybe you should get prepared.
One usually has a chance of running into political cartoons in a daily newspaper next to the editorial columns (not the comics section), in political web sites or in news magazines. These are the artworks commenting on current political issues. If one wants to get a bit of a laugh, he or she should be informed of the issue cartoonists are commenting on, and it is hard to believe that there are those that are not informed about the Brexit debate. However, cartoonists rarely aim on just making people laugh. Instead, they are trying to persuade the reader/observer in believing that the artists’ opinion on the topic is the correct one. Besides, if the cartoon really is a good one, an artist drags you into the subject. He or she actually makes you think about a political topic using only a few words and a lot of imagination.
In order for an observer to fully understand this type of visual art, he or she should be introduced to the techniques frequently used by the cartoonists to convince the audience in the cartooned point of view. There are several techniques, which are not being used at the same time by every cartoonist (they usually focus on incorporating few of them). The most used ones are: 1) symbolism – using symbols in order to explain larger ideas and concepts; 2) exaggeration – exaggerating physical aspects of things or people for the sake of making a point; 3) labeling – people or objects being labeled that one may clearly see what cartoonist stands for; 4) analogy – helping the observers see the political issue in a different way by comparing it to a more familiar one; and 5) irony – a way of expressing cartoonist’s opinion on the political issue (The Library of Congress, 2016). By being aware of these techniques, it is easier for the observer to decide whether he or she agrees with a cartoonist on the subject matter or not.
It doesn’t actually matter if you support the Brexit scenario or believe that UK and the European Union should stay in a loving relationship, but a good laugh is always a good idea. There are plenty of cartoons to be laughed at free of charge at The Political Cartoon Gallery, in London, such as the satirized cartoon presentations of David Cameron, Nigel Farage, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, and Iain Duncan Smith. EU must be Joking! will present original artworks by cartoonists such as Christian Adams and Bob Moran from the Daily Telegraph, Steve Bell and Martin Rowson of The Guardian, Dave Brown, Peter Schrank and Brian Adcock from The Independent, Peter Brookes and Morten Morland of The Times, and MAC from the Daily Mail. The exhibition will officially be opened on June 1, 2016, and it will be held from Tuesday to Saturday (Monday by appointment), with a closing date on September 3, 2016.
Featured images: Original cartoons on the subject of the EU Referendum by Dave Brown, Brian Adcock, Steve Bell, and Peter Schrank.
All images courtesy of The Political Cartoon Gallery.