Art And Culture

2 Awards for Caricaturist in Brazil

The winning work by Alireza PakdelThe winning work by Alireza Pakdel

Caricaturist Alireza Pakdel, 34, won two awards last week at Brazil's 43rd International Humor Exhibition of Piracicaba 2016.

The exhibition opened on August 27 and will remain open till October 8 in Piracicaba, a city  in the state of Sao Paulo. Admission is free. Pakdel won the Grand Trophy of the exhibition and the First Award of the festival's "Charge Category." His theme was on migrants fleeing the conflicts in the Middle East to Europe, but not able to reach their destination.

"My cartoon was on the refugees who take perilous boat journeys to reach Europe, and many among them don't make it. They either face death by drowning or dire challenges once they land on a foreign shore," Pakdel said in an interview with Mehr News Agency. "I drew the migrants in an aquarium being watched by the Europeans. This cartoon is a grim work and reflects a gloomy situation; but I'm glad it was noticed."

Pakdel, who has won seven international prizes since March, said: "The artistic community in Iran receives less attention than their scientific and athletic peers."

He criticized the society and authorities for their narrow attention on the arts. "I don't know why their attention is limited to only few fields. When it comes to art, cinema is their choice. Visual arts are neglected; most of all caricature."

A lot of money is spent on training athletes for international sports events like the Olympics, even if the athletes don't win any medals.

"To this I have no objection, but I wonder why visual arts don't see a similar investment. Iranian cartoonists have made a name for themselves across the world at their own expense. On several occasions they have managed to bring Iran into the spotlight," Pakdel said. "It's not my intention to state which art deserves better, but I'm confused when I see recognition of Iranian cartoonist at foreign events, while they receive no attention at home."

The artistic community should not be pushed into disappointment, he added. "Just as we're concerned about brain drain, we should also be mindful of artists' exodus."