'Cartoons For Future': Artists React To The Climate Crisis

Deutsche Welle

Building on the "Fridays for Future" demonstrations, an exhibition in Dortmund shows 100 cartoons by international artists commenting on the climate emergency.
Mona Greta
Mona Greta: combination of da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Greta Thunberg' portrait. BerndPohlenz
One hundred drawings by international artists are featured in the exhibition "Cartoons for Future." Portraying the school strike for climate, plastic in the sea, mountains of garbage, traffic chaos, water pollution or the exploitation of developing countries by Western corporations, the illustrations offer insight into how the global emergency is viewed from different parts of the world.
Clean drinking water for everyone?
Rather than a bowl full of water, this girl tries to imbibe dried-out soil. Hungarian illustrator Gergely Bacsa calls attention to the water shortage in many countries. Silke Wünsch
Students in Dortmund have also been taking part in the "Fridays for Future" demonstrations for some time already. The mayor of the city was so impressed by the movement that he wanted to show his support for the schoolchildren's concerns. He quickly came up with the concept of an exhibition with curator and artist Bernd Pohlenz.
"A child who is now 4 years old will probably live to see the turn of the next century. And then you obviously start thinking about the future," said Pohlenz, who is also a father of six children and grandfather of four. As the administrator of the toonpool website, a collection of nearly 300,000 drawings by 2,500 artists from 120 countries, Pohlenz had access to this large pool of cartoons and selected exactly 100 of them for the exhibition.
Too late?
Greta Thunberg, the leading figure in the climate activism movement "Fridays for Future," is up to her neck in water in this drawing by Austrian Marian Kamensky: Her "school strike for the climate" (as it says in Swedish on the poster) kicked off too late.
The artists come from all continents, from countries as varied as the Netherlands, Australia, China and Burkina Faso — a reflection of the diversity of the drawings themselves. Thought-provoking, shrill, in color or black-and-white, some are outright funny or ironic while others play on dark humor.
The drawing for the exhibition's poster, the Mona Greta (top picture), was created by Pohlenz himself. He combined the famous painting by the humanist and naturalist Leonardo da Vinci with a portrait of the star teenage climate activist, Greta Thunberg.
The fruits of the country are out of reach
 'Poverty': A mother with two children looks at food on a shelf with the word 'Inflation.'" Said Michael
From frequent flying to the exploitation of developing countries
The drawings of the exhibition are organized according to different themes, such as global meat production, cheap flights, politics, human rights and exploitation. Some artists point blame at various countries, depicting for example Germany's love of cars, the ignorant climate policy of the current US administration or Western countries stealing resources from developing countries.
One drawing mocks the so-called environmental zones established in Germany: It shows a 20-meter stretch of road that's car-free — but surrounded by a detour route clogged with stinking cars.
What global warming?
What global warming?': Donald Trump driving underwater in a golf cart called Hoax. Bart van Leeuwen
Another piece reacts to a statement by Christian Lindner, leader of the pro-business Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP), who said in reaction to the "Fridays for Future" demonstrations that climate protection is "a thing that should be left to professionals." The cartoon depicts the Reichstag building in Berlin under a merciless sun, surrounded by an arid landscape.
Beyond the 100 drawings, Pohlenz is planning on adding a screen to display more cartoons, since many artists found the idea so good that they wanted to contribute additional works.
The "Cartoons for Future" exhibition's program also includes cartoon workshops and an international drawing contest. The show runs until August 18 at the Dortmunder U Center for the Arts and Creativity.
Great view?
Tourism at any cost? The couple is taking a selfie in front of the sunset, but is apparently oblivious to the fact that they're standing on the mountain of trash. Tjeerd Royaards
The globe in despair
Many of the illustrations in the exhibition address the plastic garbage that has contaminated the world's oceans. Here, the Earth holds its face in its hands in a moment of desperation. Arcadio Esquivel
From one disaster to another
This illustration by Burkinabé artist Damien Glez reflects on the fate of thousands upon thousands of refugees and migrants: The supposed better life elsewhere has its owns risks.

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