In this lecture we heard Khalid Albaih speak about his work as a famous political cartoonist from Sudan. Mr. Albaih spoke of the strength that many of his cartoons had in the public view. At one point he even mentioned being interrogated over one of his cartoons and over what he was drawing. This truly magnifies the importance of art and expression in our modern world and illuminates the impact that comics or other art can have on the people of a country and of the world. The true beauty of what Mr. Albaih does however, is not the amount of people he can impact or influence with his cartoons, but the freedom of speech he is allowed through his cartoons. This was for me, the most interesting and incredible thing about what he does with his cartoons. The ability to express any possible thought or meaning with a cartoon and even be able to take things further than standard writings in some cases, is something that truly gives him the opportunity to influence the entire world. An example in one of his cartoons is where he has illustrated the classic Darwin evolution cartoon of us slowly standing up from being a more primate species into the humans we are today, but instead in reverse so that we are almost evolving back into our primate state. This cartoon then has the final evolution being the “f” in the facebook logo. This sends a very powerful message through imagery and creativity, and would not have been as easy to express through words to impact so many people. This truly goes along with our brains and psychology as a whole, that we are a very visual species and this outlet Mr. Albaih has to share these cartoons with the world over some very controversial topics is very incredible.
Another one of Mr. Albaih’s cartoons that I thought was a particularly good representation of his outlet to say whatever he wanted through his artwork, was in the cartoon where he depicted a patriotic uncle sam standing near a cliff handcuffed to a standing representation of the rest of the world as a globe. The cartoon depicts the uncle sam character as saying “The debate was great.” This is a very clever cartoon that I felt mostly everyone could truly relate to in one way or another. This is a good example of him being able to say something that many people may believe or may be thinking but don’t have the ability to express their concern in the way Mr. Albaih can. The most important part of Mr. Albaih’s talk in my mind was his appreciation for cartoons and what the internet and the ability to put his cartoons out there in the world safely meant to him. He discussed how truly revolutionary and incredible it is to be able to publicly showcase his work and remain safe and sound despite how controversial his cartoons sometimes were. It was his outlet to say whatever he wanted to anyone he wanted to say it to, including some very powerful and dangerous people. This appreciation for the internet and understanding of how influential it is was very interesting to hear about and its truly amazing what Mr. Albaih has been able to accomplish and express through his cartoons.