Political cartoonist gallery on display until next week

Trey Crumbie

Political cartoons exist to incite reactions from people, ranging from disgust, happiness, sorrow and indignation. These illustrations can at times commemorate current events as effectively as words alone.

Students, faculty and staff will have the option to see some of these powerful drawings until the end of next week.

The work of Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, also known as Zunar, will be displayed in the gallery of Mass Media and Technology Hall as part of an exhibition. The Malaysian cartoonist attempts to highlight the injustices and corruption of his country through his work. 

The 41 featured cartoons include recent political commentary. One cartoon in particular criticizes Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, and his handling of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crisis, in which a Malaysian plane went missing last March and was never recovered.

Zunar visited WKU last September where he spoke about the Malaysian government censoring his work. Zunar has been harassed and arrested by his government for his work.

“I told police, ‘I will draw until the last drop of my ink,’” he said. “‘If you want to stop me, you must stop the ink supply coming to Malaysia.’”

In a January interview with The Washington Post, Zunar denounced the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper in France, which left 12 dead and 11 injured. The magazine attracted controversy for publishing depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

“Any disagreement over the said cartoons should be responded in a civilized manner, i.e., intellectual discourses, open debates and other civilized damage-control methods,” he said. “Even though we do not agree with the contents, we should respect the cartoonists’ rights to express their views.”

Tim Broekema, WKU photojournalism professor and the gallery committee chair, said he enjoys the cartoons and that it was unfortunate that Zunar gets punished for his work.

“The fact that he’s been arrested and harassed by his government for actually saying these things is scary,” he said. “…We should work within a society where we can say things without prosecution.”

The exhibition is on loan from the University of Louisville’s Center for Asian Democracy. The gallery will run until Feb. 6.