Ninth Art – Cartooning for Peace

Cartoons about refugees, displacement and human rights

24th June – 16th September 2018


In March 2018, “Kichka. Life is a Cartoon” premiered in Brussels. The film, which is the first documentary created by the Center for Persecuted Arts and the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art Krakow, is now touring the locations where it was filmed, with the French premiere taking place at the Memorial de la Shoa in Paris on the 6th of September. The launch of the film was the occasion for the Center’s new exhibition: We are showcasing highlights of the “Ninth Art” – caricatures, illustrations and cartoons – with a focus on migration and current affairs. The protagonist of the film, Michel Kichka, born 1954 in Seraing / Liège, is a renowned artist and member of the network “Cartooning for Peace”. He lives in Jerusalem. In his graphic novel he describes how the trauma of his father, Holocaust survivor Henri Kichka, born 1926 in Brussels, has affected the entire family. The publication of the graphic novel was the beginning of a long journey through the past and into the future. The film follows father and son during two intense years in Israel, Belgium and France. It includes conversations with “Le Monde” cartoonist Jean “Plantu” Plantureux and Beate and Serge Klarsfeld. The documentary “Kichka. Life is a Cartoon” will be screened on the 1st of July 2018, 11am, and on the 16th of September 2018, 5pm, at the Cobra Cultural Center, Merscheider Str. 77-79, 42699 Solingen.


What is the “Ninth Art”?

In his 1971 essay “Pour un neuvième art: La bande dessinée”, French journalist Francis Lacassin added comics and cartoons as the “Ninth Art” to the general canon of art, creating a new generic term. In many countries, especially Belgium and France, the “Ninth Art” is part of high culture – in Germany, however, the acceptance of cartoons as an art form is still rather low. Thanks to its critical spirit, this witty and dynamic genre is often a thorn in the sides of totalitarian rulers. Many cartoonists are subversive and persecuted worldwide. Our exhibition introduces some of them, highlighting the power of political art and outstanding “Ninth Art” works from the Center’s collection.

The boundaries between satire, caricatures, graphic novels, cartoons, comics, illustrations and traditional fine art are fluid. The exhibition shows how comprehensively the history of the cartoon is connected with art history and the Center’s collection. George Grosz illustrated books by Ernst Toller, even created publications that consisted solely of titled drawings, I.e. caricatures. Georg Netzband depicted the cruel reality of National Socialist Germany in hiding.


All Are Migrants – Cartooning for Peace

Since 2014, one and a half million migrants have arrived in Europe. “The refugee crisis is destabilizing Europeans, but it should not mean losing hope of contributing to a better world.” Historian Benjamin Stora challenges us to tackle this migration phenomenon, to see it not as a threat, but as enrichment. Selected by the “Cartooning for Peace” network, 60 international artists trace the long journey of refugees and highlight some of the reasons for people to leave their homes behind and instead live in exile.


Kichka, Nayer and the others – cartoons today

The exhibition includes works by Michel Kichka, the most influential illustrator, cartoonist and comic artist in the Middle East. In line with the Center’s mission, this exhibition offers a forum for caricaturists persecuted today. Talal Nayer, president of the Sudanese Cartoonists Association who came to Germany as a refugee, is exhibiting his work in a museum for the first time. He is also the co-curator of this part of the exhibition, showcasing 20 international cartoonists.