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Graeme MacKay

Graeme MacKay Photo

Graeme MacKay is the Hamilton Spectator’s resident editorial cartoonist. He was born in 1968, he grew up in Dundas, Ontario. There he submitted cartoons to the student newspaper, The Fulcrum, and became the graphics editor.

Graeme MacKay Early Life

Graeme (born 23 September 1968) has lived in Hamilton, Ottawa, Toronto, and London UK, for 18 months (1994) as a counter clerk in the food halls of Harrods in Knights bridge. He now resides in Hamilton, with his wife Wendi, and their daughters, Gillian and Jacqueline. A graduate from Parkside High School in Dundas, Graeme attended the University of Ottawa majoring in History and Political Science.

Graeme MacKay Cartoon
Cartoon by Graeme MacKay

Graeme MacKay professional life

Between 1989 and 1991 he illustrated and, along with writer Paul Nichols, co-wrote a weekly comic strip, entitled “Alas & Alack”, a satire of current-day public figures framed in a medieval setting.

Cartoon by Graeme MacKay
Cartoon by Graeme MacKay

After a 2 year working tour through Europe and North Africa, he returned to Canada in 1994 and submitted cartoons to various newspapers His work caught the eye of The Hamilton Spectator and in 1997, he was hired as a full-time editorial cartoonist. Besides creating five editorial cartoons per week for the Spectator, Graeme’s work is nationally syndicated through Artizans. Through distribution his cartoons appear across the Internet and in newspapers, big and small, throughout Canada, and occasionally in the United States.

Cartoon by Graeme MacKay
Cartoon by Graeme MacKay

Between 1999 and 2003, Graeme illustrated a comic strip exclusively for the Hamilton Spectator called Gridlock featuring 5 characters working at a fictitious local taxi company called Hammer cab. Gridlock’s creation came about through a partnership with Wade Hems worth, a columnist at the Hamilton Spectator, who wrote the scripts.

Between 2008 and 2010 Graeme was President of the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists and hosted its biennial gathering in Hamilton in September 2010.

Cartoon by Graeme MacKay
Cartoon by Graeme MacKay

Awards:

  1. The Duncan MacPherson Award,1996.
  2. The United Nations/Ranan Lurie Political Cartoon Awards,2006.
  3. The United Nations/Ranan Lurie Political Cartoon Awards,2013.
  4. The George Townsend Award, (Finalist – English language category)2014.
  5. The George Townsend Award,2018.

Controversy

On August 22, 2017, an editorial cartoon by MacKay was published in the Hamilton Spectator depicting a person wearing a Nazi uniform and holding a tiki torch being beaten and hit by four hippies holding peace-themed signs. BenQ, Hamilton’s LGBTQ2SI+ Media, and Community Hub responded to this cartoon in an article that identified the cartoon’s Nazi-sympathizing nature and its similarities, however unintentional, with Neo-Nazi propaganda. The cartoon was met with discord on MacKay’s Facebook page, which lead to MacKay taking the cartoon down.

Cartoon by Graeme MacKay
Cartoon by Graeme MacKay

On March 22, 2018, an editorial cartoon by MacKay was published in the Hamilton Spectator which depicted a person presenting as a female being asked by a clerk at a Service Canada desk how they would like to be addressed. The individual answers that they are “the serene highness and extraordinary companion of the illustrious order” and continues in this vein, ending with “In Ms.Chats worth’s Gifted Class I went by Phil”.The cartoon was referencing Service Canada’s recent directive instructing its employees who interact with the public to stay away from terms such as Mr., Mrs., father, and mother, and to “use gender-neutral language or gender-inclusive language.”MacKay’s cartoon was met with backlash regarding its transphobic message.

Cartoon by Graeme MacKay
Cartoon by Graeme MacKay

On August 24, 2018, an editorial cartoon by MacKay was published in the Hamilton Spectator which depicted Ontario Premier Doug Ford looking directly into the light of an overhead slide projection showing an anatomical cross-section of the male pelvic region, titled “The Penis.” Ford is shown positioned with part of the slide projecting male sex organs on his face with a caption stating, “A sex-ed”snitch line has been set up to report any funny business.”The cartoon was in response to the Progressive Conservative government’s repeal of the 2015 Ontario sex education curriculum, and subsequent decision to seek reports of teachers not using the pre-existing curriculum taught between 1992 and 2015. The cartoon provoked criticism and lead to publication in The Hamilton Spectator of letters to the editor, and a column written, in defense of the cartoon, by the newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief, Paul Berton.

Exhibitions

  1. Participant,”Bye Bye Jean”,2003,La Galerie Rouge,228 rue Saint-Joseph,Quebec City,Quebec, Canada.
  2. Participant, “Halifax Pub Scrawl”,2005, Economy Shoe Shop,1663 Argyle St, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
  3. Participant,” Bush Leaguers: Cartoonists Take on the White House”,2007, Washington D.C., USA exhibited in Pittsburgh PA., and Columbus, OH.
  4. Participant, “Doodles to Digital: Editorial Cartooning in the 21st Century”,2010, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
  5. Participant,”Polar Lines”,2011,National Arts Centre,Ottawa,Ontario,Canada.
  6. Participant, “World Press Cartoon 2012”, Sintra, Portugal.
  7. Participant,”Cartoonist Amigos”, 2014,Havana,Cuba.
  8. Participant, “The Auld Acquaintance” traveling exhibit on Scotland independence,2014; St.Just-le-Martel, France; London, UK; Glasgow, UK, Lleida, Spain; Limoges, France; Edinburgh, UK.
Cartoon by Graeme MacKay
Cartoon by Graeme MacKay

Publications

  1. You Might Be from Hamilton If… published by MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc.,2017.
  2. “Mennonite Cobbler: Balancing Faith and Tradition in a Turbulent World” (Illustrations), published by Author House,2016.
  3. “Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year”, Pelican Publishing Company;2002,2006,2007,2010,2012.
  4. “Portfolio: The Year’s Best Canadian Editorial Cartoons”, editions 16 – 25 (2000-2013); published by McClelland & Stewart.

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Written by Sharmin haque prima

Dr. Sharmin Haque Prima is a dental surgeon. She has done BDS in 2015. She is now doing a master’s of public health at North South University.

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