Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Picture is Worth .... Three Words??

Ziolek Cartoon
When I left the Warsaw Business Journal to return to Canada my colleagues were at a loss as to what to buy me as a going away present. It had to be something that could be packed in a suitcase – our belongs had been shipped – and it had to be something that reflected our time in Poland and my time at the Journal. On the quiet I mentioned to our HR chief that I had always admired the work of Ziolek, our Editorial cartoonist, and one cartoon in particular had intrigued and unsettled me. And I would like to have the original.

Political cartooning is an art form in Poland and was often the only way dissidence could be expressed during much of the 20th century. Many Polish artists learned to work a type of shorthand into their work – particularly in cartoons and posters – that spoke volumes to the Polish viewer yet said nothing to the Government Censor. The cartoon I wanted had been published without a caption but subtly addressed the allegations made in a book that had been published the week before.

My colleagues at the paper were a little perplexed and unsettled by my request but on my final day I was presented with the framed original. It has hung in our two homes back in Canada and caused some equally unsettled reactions from many of our guests. Yes it is a strange cartoon and on the surface is just another rendering of the horrors of War. But this is a Polish cartoon and there is a hidden message that speaks to a disturbing event in corporate and world history.

(The picture is rather low quality as I was not able to successfully scan the cartoon but had to take a photo of it.)

No comments: