Profiled: KAL on editorial cartooning locally and internationally

Editorial cartoon by KAL

Asia Society interviews The Economist editorial cartoonist Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher.

Your 1984 Economist cover of Indira Gandhi led to a nationwide suppression of the magazine. Has anything else you’ve drawn ever met with that kind of censorship – and does an editorial cartoonist feel any kind of pride when his work clearly touches a nerve in this manner?
As a cartoonist, it is almost certain that every cartoon you create is annoying someone. Editorial cartoons are, by their nature, a negative art form. We cartoonists harness caricature and satire to be deployed against our targets of choice. The targets and their supporters often take offense at such pointed criticism, particularly if an unflattering caricature is involved. As a result, a large amount of the reaction a cartoonist gets from the public in the form of letters, emails, and faxes is negative. Those who feel aggrieved are inspired to let you know. It comes with the job. When government figures take note of your cartoons it is another thing. There is some satisfaction to know that your work has hit the intended target.