Atlanta Journal Constitution editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich was among eight international cartoonists that met on the campus of Emory University for a panel discussion entitled “Art of Controversy: Where to Draw the Line?” The panel included Palestine’s Baha Boukhari, Algeria’s Ali Dilem, New York’s Liza Donnelly, Turkey’s Piyale Madra, Israel’s Michel Kichka and Japan’s No-rio Yamanoi.
Some excerpt quotes:
According to Kichka, a cartoon has two lives, one created by the cartoonist and the other manifested through audience reactions. These two lives, he said, can take on very different characters.
Cartoons have the power to change the way people think about themselves and the culture they live in, Donnelly said. But to do so, she said, a cartoonist must make a point without allowing offensive images deter from the message.
Luckovich said, “I don’t mind being controversial, but I don’t like when the symbolism overpowers the message. We need to be strong in our opinions, but we have a responsibility to make points controversially without outraging people.”
Dilem, whose controversial cartoons have yielded him several jail sentences in Algeria, added that whatever the message, a cartoonist cannot attack a controversy half-heartedly.
“You draw to fill a void. And you have to feel the message,” he said.
The discussion was a part of a week-long focus on cartooning and controversy and also included a “Cartooning for Peace” exhibit that was first shown at the United Nations last month.