The 12th Hungarian Cartoon Festival: a Dialogue of Cultures
Community Galleries, 1st floor
October 23 - December 20, 2009

Dialogue of Cultures

In 2008, the Hungarian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and the Hungarian
Culture Foundation announced a
cartoon competition as part of Hungary's
participation in the "European Year
of Intercultural Dialogue." Submitted
works were required to reflect the
theme of cultural diversity but no
limits were placed upon the artists'
choices in subject.

The cartoons in this exhibition express,
often humorously or ironically, a
challenge to the stereotypes each
culture possesses of others, both
near and far. They also celebrate the
value and richness of experience
shaped by the unique historical
circumstance from which every nation
emerges. With a keen eye and sharp
pen, the cartoonists and artists of
this exhibition often take the most
mundane of daily experience and
infuse such experience with multiple
meaning. It is not unusual to both
be amused at what is first seen
and then staggered by what is truly
represented in these works.

Hungarian poet Attila Jozsef once
wrote, "I am angry for you, not against
you." Such a sentiment infuses
these works. A cartoonist's primary
intention is rarely to be offensive.
Rather, by cleverly encapsulating
an issue or an event in a few spare
lines, a cartoonist can often bring
to awareness the significance of a
moment in time which requires all
to react, respond and reflect upon
relationships - the relationship of
individual to society, of government
to its citizens, of the nations of the
world, one to another.

As Europe continues to grow past
the divisions of the post-World War
II era, it is encouraging to see that
nations once suspicious and hostile
now find themselves sharing similar
hopes and dreams. But, it is not as if
they did not share similar hopes and
dreams before 1989, it is just that
now the quick wit of the cartoonist
no longer need be a threat. Indeed,
in our increasingly ill-humored age
with its economic challenges, the
cartoonist's view of the world may be
the necessary ingredient to a fruitful
"Dialogue of Cultures."

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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