Symbols in political cartoons: Trik and Gorilla

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Two Dutch artists who draw political cartoons using mainly words and symbols to make their point have been making a name for themselves recently: Trik and Gorilla. The former won the prestigious Inktspotprijs 2007, the award for the best political cartoon, with a drawing commenting on the stalemate the Belgian government formation suffered last year. Trik used the famous last panel of the hugely popular Flemish Suske and Wiske comic strip, a powerful symbol for Belgium among Dutch readers, in which Wiske breaks the fourth wall by winking at the reader over the words The End. In Trik’s version, Wiske was dead. The End?

Gorilla is a group of designers making cartoons for the front-page of daily De Volkskrant. Readers can can vote for their favourite cartoons and buy T-shirts of the cartoons they like at the newspaper’s website. Caption for this cartoon: “Dutch best prepared for climate change.”

The wordiness of the cartoons of both artists, and the use of puns makes the cartoons feel rather like the mysterious Loesje posters that started turning up on walls all over the country during the 1980s, and that contained such witty observations as “there’s always a little bit of month left at the end of my budget.”

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