Vilma Vargas, an architect, artist, and cartoonist from Ecuador. Recently she talked with Arifur Rahman and shared her stories.
Arifur Rahman: Hello and welcome! Tell us about your story 🙂 your name, and whatever you want to share with us.
Vilma: I am Vilma Vargas, 41 years old, I am from to the Equator, I am an architect, artist, and cartoonist.
Arifur Rahman: What was your first the cartoon that gave you recognition?
Vilma: I drew from a cartoon contest in Cuba. Two poor guys are in a dumpster one gay while reading the newspaper said: The competitiveness index is falling in our country and while car garbage is throwing the garbage, the other guy said: we must ready because now the poverty index is falling us.
Arifur Rahman: Difference between old and new generations cartoons?
Vilma: I think the new generation has more visibility for social media and we use more digital tools in our cartoons. But old and new generations have the same problems: censorship and intolerance.
Arifur Rahman: Any suggestions that you would like to share with our new cartoonist?
Vilma: I don’t feel able to give any suggestions because cartooning is a career of self-learning, but I am happy when there are new cartoonists, we really need more cartoonists, people who think, who criticize, who draw about things that people don’t want to see. For example, in my country, we are less than 20 cartoonists and don’t exist a new generation of political cartoonists.
Arifur Rahman: When did you decide that you want to become a cartoonist and why?
Vilma: I had my first job as a cartoonist in a newspaper in a small city in Ecuador, and then I had no alternative but to draw on politics because politicians have that bad taste of influencing society and therefore in our lives and it is not possible to remain indifferent.
Arifur Rahman: Which genres of cartoons you like to draw?
Vilma: I draw basically political humor and I try to draw about themes that other cartoonists called “polemics topics” for example the abortion or equality marriage. I like to extend my limits because I live in a country with many mental limits.
Arifur Rahman: According to you, what are some of the main qualities that a cartoonist should possess?
Vilma: It is necessary, to be honest, yourself, brave and above all be almost unemployed, because you need more free time to think an extract the humor of daily situations.
Arifur Rahman: Why should anyone choose this as a Profession?
Vilma: Because all critical, offense or annoyance towards politicians should be considered a profession. Even I have exercised my profession without anyone paying me for it because the political moment was important and I had a voice to express my opinion.
Arifur Rahman: Do you think political cartoon or caricature should be regardless of depicting any biases?
Vilma: I believe in the freedom and independence of thinking, I have been drawing almost all the politicians and political parties of my country. People who to follow me know my position: always in favor of weak persons and against any form of power. These last years I have drawn about the sexual abuse against children inside the Catholic church for example.
Arifur Rahman: Is the Profession of cartoonist can bring enough financial stability along with fame?
Vilma: That is very difficult because if you are beginning you don’t find spaces and the spaces in the newspaper are full because old cartoonists will occupy them all their life, so to be cartoonist doesn’t mean fame or money. Now, I don’t publish daily but I received a paid for two or three cartoons a week in a national newspaper and I am happy about that because I was for 4 years without space.
Arifur Rahman: What is the biggest achievement you think that you earned in your career?
Vilma: My biggest achievement is my personal growth, when I draw I see many things in another way. To draw is the best form to understand the world and with art, I can to create my own world.
Arifur Rahman: From your point of view, what are the social liabilities of a cartoonist?
Vilma: A cartoonist can or not drawing with social responsibility. Sometimes some editors tell me that they don´t publish a social theme because they talk only about political themes, but I draw about the social problems of my country because social difficulties are political difficult too.
Arifur Rahman: Did you ever get threatened or bullied because of your job?
Vilma: One time I suffered censorship of my exhibition and a weird intromission in my home and almost daily people tell me many “special things” in my social networks, but I think that is normal, instead, I worry when people don´t are insulting me for a cartoon.
Arifur Rahman: The difference that you want to see in the cartoons after 10 years from now on?
Vilma: After 10 years I would like to find more political cartoons by women.
Arifur Rahman: Do you still enjoy your work like the way you used to in some years ago?
Vilma: Now, I enjoy it much more, because I have more responsibility and after 20 years I feel that my work is most ripe, but I still working in my own style.