Studio Co-ordinator Terry Anderson writes about his recent trip to France:
From the 28th of September to the 6th of October, the 32nd edition of the Salon International de la Caricature, du Dessin de Presse et d’Humour unfolded in St.Just-le-Martel. Those cartoonist who’ve made the trip before will already know all the little quirks and touches that make the Salon what it is: the symbolic, ubiquitous Limousin cattle; the various porcelain prizes given out over the two weekends, sometimes accompanied by photo-ops with live animals; the abundance of food, drink & hospitality extended by many in the village, most notoriously the local priest who insists upon cramming his ancient atelier with cartoonists every Sunday for a VERY early aperitif; and the sheer diversity and volume of cartoons put on show and created on the spot for lucky visitors.
But there are new wrinkles. I was delighted to learn the main exhibition space has been named the Espace Loup after an artist of whom all at the Studio are great admirers and someone who has given an enormous amount of time and support to the Salon over the years.
This year’s show included a number of discrete exhibitions alongside the general collection of cartoons and caricatures from around the world, including but not limited to:
- drawings of New York by CABU
- sculptures and drawings to be viewed with 3-D glasses by MOUGEY
- portraits of notable cartoonists by ROLAND HOURS
- strips about Corsican separatists by DELAMBRE
- a 20 year retrospective of cartoonist GAB
- a huge collection of American press cartoons, via the DARYL CAGLE website
- whimsical animal illustrations by TURCIOS
- classic visual humour from MOFREY
- a large selection of great cartoons by DOAA ELADL
- the “to eat or not to eat” exhibit from the inaugural NIELS BUGGE competition in Denmark, as well as substantial collections from Belgium and The Netherlands, and a show of timely cartoons on modern Franco-German relations
- extraordinary collaborations between cartoonists and the local association of porcelain makers
Highlights of the first weekend were Turcios winning the prix de humour tendre and Doaa receiving special recognition with a crayon porcelaine on her first appearance at the Salon. I also enjoyed catching up with some old friends like George Million, Peter Ruge, Uschi Heusel and Alex Noel Watson while making the acquaintance of new faces such as Christian Creseveur. The Salon really is like the UN at times; at one point I was explaining to two Frenchmen what a third was saying to a Russian for the benefit of an Eqyptian.
Mid-week we took some time out in Limoges and without really trying fell upon yet more cartoon exhibitions. The Museé de la Resistance had a showing of cartoon strips by artists from the Malmö centre, all meditations on or responses to Art Spiegelman’s MAUS. Meanwhile at the Bibliothèque Francophone there was a hugely impressive retrospective on the VALÉRIAN & LAURELINE bandes dessineé. As one display made explicit, we’ve all seen key images from these comics as they form a recurring influence throughout the Star Wars films.
And so it continued for the second weekend, kicking off with the traditional train full of cartoonists inbound from Paris being greeted by talented “callicaturist” Claudio Puglia and friends in historic attire. After that the focus was firmly on the Americans. Daryl Cagle won the prix de humour vaiche with friends Pat Bagley, Bob Englehart and recent Pulitzer winner Steve Sack also honoured. It was great to chat a bit with these gents as well as China’s Lichuan Xia. I also caught up with Scottish cartoonist Ross Thomson and attended the annual FECO meeting. The Arab world, its recent political travails, cartooning’s place and its power within them were clearly on the minds of a great many cartoonists this year. There was an on-stage debate with Doaa Eladl and Nadia Khiari, creator of the WILLIS FROM TUNIS cartoons, about cartooning in Eqypt, Tunisia and the Middle East. The room was later packed for a photo in support of missing Syrian artist Akram Raslan.
The Salon always lay on entertainment on the Friday and Saturday evenings. On my last night there was a terrific band who seemed able to keep up with any and all suggestions thrown at them. Seemingly in honour of Cagle & co, several French folk made valiant attempts at English language standards. I shan’t soon forget formidable cartoonist Robert Rousso’s rendition of “Old Man River”.
St.Just-le-Martel is most definitely mon maison spirituelle. I know I’ll be back and I look forward to contributing something to its next decade of success.