Thursday, 16 February 2012

Zunar: Getting ideas is a breeze, thanks to our politicians.

by Harakah Daily / en

Feb 16: Political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque said he did not at all find it a challenge to get ideas for his works, and he has Malaysian politicians to thank for.

 “It is a bit easy because I live in Malaysia. Malaysian politicians provide me ideas every day," he told a 100-strong audience who attended the launch of his latest exhibition in London yesterday.

"The Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers look very smart and intelligent, until they open their mouth. The moment they start to open their mouths, I can start open my sketch book," said the cartoonist popularly known as Zunar, replying to a question from the audience.
The crowd mingling at the exhibition (top), and (below) Zunar explains his works to visitors

Organised by Article 19, a UK-based non-governmental organisation, the event is Zunar's first solo exhibition and will run until March 13. With the theme "To Fight Through Cartoon", it boasts of 80 pieces of Zunar's works divided into four categories, one of which is dedicated to the prime minister's wife, Rosmah Mansor.

Among speakers at the launch were Article 19 executive director Dr Agnes Callamard and founder of whistleblower website Sarawak Report, Clare Rewcastle Brown.

In his speech, Zunar said it was morally wrong for Malaysians to be neutral in the face of corruption and human rights abuses by the government.

"All Malaysians should play their part. Let us stand together and fight. As a cartoonist this is my little contribution in this struggle. How can I be neutral, even my pen has a stand?" he asked, quoting his tagline.

Praise from visitors

Visitors at the exhibition said they admired Zunar's works.

“To me, Zunar is one of the two great legends in Malaysia apart from Dato’ Lat," said a Malaysian government officer, who wants to be known only as Amir, referring to well known cartoonist Mohamed Nor Khalid.

Adil (left) and Andrew

 For IT manager Andrew Tynan, who said he had been hearing of Malaysian politics through friends, Zunar's cartoons complemented the information he received.

"Zunar’s cartoons are great in the sense that I could now relate the stories and understand the Malaysian politics better," he added.

Malaysian student Adil Johan, pursuing his doctoral studies in King's College, said he liked the underlying message in Zunar's cartoons.

"I have been Zunar’s fan for years. When I first saw his drawings at the exhibition, I thought he has a very strong form of artistic expression that are open to interpretation," said Adil, who said he was not afraid to attend such an event, which normally attracts Malaysian security officials on the look out for students.

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