A Soldier under the Flag of Humour: The art of cartoons plays a special role in the wartime, and political cartoons have always been an effective weapon in opposing the hostile propaganda. The 21st century war is not only an armed conflict, but also an informational struggle. Both parties strive to get the support of the public, which makes the issue of the public opinion manipulation extremely urgent as it destabilizes society and jeopardizes security and democracy.
It is possible to become a victim of an informational attack due to the influence of the media and / or social networks, which are often abused by trolls that try to deform opinions, thinking and behavior of people. False news and black propaganda have become effective tools of hybrid war.
The war of Russia against Ukraine began in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea and moved its troops to the east of Ukraine. Russia secretly planned to occupy Ukraine a long time before the war started, and it has been leading a systematic propaganda campaign against Ukraine all over the world since the end of the 20th century.
In 2016 analysts from the American research center RAND called the Russian propaganda “a firing hose of lies,“ claims Vladimír Kazanevský. The end of February 2022 has changed his life and his work, as he has substituted philosophical and often cheerful cartoons with a thoughtful response to the cruel and morbid situations caused by the Russian invasion and represented by the Russian president and his servants.
“I have understood that I am as a soldier standing on the information front, therefore, I use everything I have at my disposal – my strength, my creation to help people all over the world open their eyes. I have become a soldier fighting with cartoons, in which president Putin’s partner is death, a cruel lady with a scythe waving over his head,“ says the author and adds, “red and black are dominant colors evoking tension and horror, returning as a boomerang, hitting back the aggressor.”
Supported by the Slovak Art Council, Vladimír Kazanevský´s anti-war cartoons have addressed university and secondary school students in the towns of Bratislava, Košice, Prešov and Humenné. The exhibitions were accompanied by a discussion with the author on the topic cartoons and war. Political cartoons of Vladimír Kazanevský were also successfully displayed in the centers of independent culture in Prešov, Nitra, Bardejov and Banská Bystrica. The exhibitions visitors appreciated a high artistic standard of the cartoons that express the resilience against Putin’s regime crimes.
Vladimír Kazanevský ranks among the leading world authors of political cartoons, such as O Sekoer, Willem Rasing, Olexy Kustovsky, etc. In 2022, in the city of Geneva, he received a prestigious Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award from the Freedom Cartoonists Foundation. His cartoons are published in the newspapers Washington Post and Yomiuri Shimbun, in the Swiss satirical magazine Nebelspalter, and other world newspapers and magazines.
Part of his exhibition collection was included in the AntiHybrid project implemented in cooperation with the Brain Sneezing Gallery in Prešov, and it was also installed in the Taras Shevchenko Museum in Kyiv. In December 2022 the Cultural Center of the Ukrainian Embassy presented an exhibition of original drawings by Vladimir Kazanevsky in Paris. The partners from the V4 countries have shown interest in the exhibition, and the author himself would like to show it in the free towns of Ukraine.
The project has been supported from the public funds of the Council of Arts.
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