Cartooning in Conflict

Graphic: Ares

An exhibition of cartoons exploring the history and possible solutions to Israel's conflict has gone on display at Luxembourg's Abbaye de Neumunster.

Cartooning in Conflict features more than 50 drawings by 40 artists from around the world, among them Pullitzer prize winner Jim Morin and Nobel Laureate Pat Oliphant.

Organised by the Parents' Circle, which is composed of more than 600 families who lost a family member in the conflict, the exhibition is serves up poignant and humour perspectives on an intractable conflict which has severely affected Muslims and Jews in Israel and Palestine.

Organisation spokeswoman Robi Damelin, whose son was killed by a sniper, told “Anything that draws in and creates a question or dialogue is good. For us it's terribly important not to take sides, not to be pro one or the other, but to be pro a solution. What happens when we take a side is you influence the people in your country and you're importing our conflict to your country and creating more problems between Jews and Muslims.”

The idea was borne out of a Cartooning for Peace seminar held in Israel. Robi contacted a number of artists and cartoonists around the world, inviting them to participate. Only one person, in Iran, declined the invitation, deeming it too dangerous to take part.

The result is a deeply moving display, which has toured London, New York, Chicago, Germany, Belfast and Italy.

“It's been a wonderful way for us to express our work. What we at the Parents' Circle believe is we need to be a catalyst to create a framework for a reconciliation and to be an integral part of future peace agreements,” explained Robi.

The 50 works tell a story, beginning with what happens when communications fail. The first drawing shows a Palestinian flag on one side of a wall and an Israeli flag on the other. Viewers are shown death and destruction as war breaks out, as well as the devastating effect this has on innocent bystanders.

“For me the most poignant cartoon is The Bullet,” said Robi, adding: “It's about a child running away from a bullet. It shows the results of war. Another drawing, which is very strong, says this is how we share the land. It shows an Israeli and Palestinian digging a grave.”

There are also moments of humour in the exhibition with Jim Morin's I've forgotten if I'm initiating or retaliating, as well as sketches which inspire hope for a peaceful solution.

The Cartooning in Conflict exhibition will remain at the Abbaye de Neumunster until April 4.