G-20 Summit Draws Exhibits of Cartoon Commentary to Pittsburgh

By Shaw, Kurt | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 2, 2009 | Go to article overview

G-20 Summit Draws Exhibits of Cartoon Commentary to Pittsburgh


Shaw, Kurt, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Most folks these days don't remember, or perhaps never heard, the quote "We have met the enemy and he is us," once espoused by Walt Kelly's (1913-73) legendary cartoon strip character Pogo.

Pogo was the central character of Kelly's long-running (1948- 1975) daily comic strip of the same name. Fictitiously set in the Georgia section of the very real Okefenokee Swamp, the strip often engaged in social and political satire through the adventures of its "funny animals," or anthropomorphic characters.

The quote was a parody of a message sent in 1813 from Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to Army Gen. William Henry Harrison after the Battle of Lake Erie stating "We have met the enemy, and they are ours." But in Kelly's comic, his appropriation perfectly summed up his attitude toward the foibles of mankind and the nature of the human condition.

Like Pogo in his day, Opus in the Bloom County of yesterday, or the political cartoons of today, cartoons have a way of holding a mirror up to society's ills and giving us a glimmer of light on our darkest days.

You may think there's nothing funny about the G-20 summit. After all, thousands of delegates, protesters and journalists will invade Pittsburgh this week for the summit to tackle some serious issues. Yet, local, and even nationally published cartoonists are gearing up to show these visitors to our fair city that there can be a lighter side to strife and struggle.

"We are offering the G-20 delegates a bottom-up look at the economic realities facing millions of Americans," says cartoonist Gary Huck, who, along with fellow cartoonists Mike Konopacki and Bill Yund, organized the exhibit "Workplace Funnies: A G-20 Reality Check!" It's on display just outside the security perimeter at ArtUp Gallery at 820 Liberty Ave.

The exhibit features the work of some of the nations best political cartoonists, among them three Pulitzer prize winners, Clay Bennett, Joel Pett and Signe Wilkinson, as well as a runner-up for this year's Pulitzer, Matt Wuerker.

Also on display are cartoons by Fred Wright (1907-1984). …

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