Cartoonists' Descent
42. National Cartoon Exhibition
/5 October 2017 - 28 February 2018, Room 7/

Cartoonists' Descent is the heading of a large-scale event dedicated to the art of cartooning. It features contemporary artists from Bulgaria and abroad, as well as world cartoon salons. The House of Humour and Satire uses this titles for the first time in 2014; however, cartoon exhibitions have been an invariable part of the Museum's autumn programme long before that. Such an exhibition is the National Cartoon Exhibition held yearly in Sofia.

42. National Cartoon Exhibition presents an annual review of the latest works created by Bulgarian masters of drawn humour. It is organized by section Cartoon to the Union of Bulgarian Artists. The current selection features 133 cartoons by 20 artists out of the 300 cartoons by 42 artists that were initially shown in April 2017 in Sofia.

Traditionally, the exhibition has no set theme and artists are free to show their own creative visions and criteria. The prevailing impression this year is of a withdrawal from political topics and worn-out political subjects so profusely caricatured in previous editions. The focus is on the interpretation of undying themes: love, sex, relations between the sexes, ecology, wine, cosmos, sports, money, business, among others. Both political and non-political portrait charge has its place.

Since May 1964, when the First General Cartoon Exhibition took place, and with short breaks in time, The National Exhibition continues to provide ground for artists’ manifestation and to champion the mission of cartoon – to make one laugh and cry, but mainly to provoke the viewer’s reflection.

Cartoonists' Descent
Trump – Nine Months Later (by the best cartoonists in the world)
/5 October 2017 - 28 February 2018, Room 6/

This themed collection is specially selected by American cartoonist Daryl Cagle who manages the internet cartoon site www.Cagle.com. The exhibition comprises 131 political cartoons by 66 leading editorial cartoonists in the world. This is the first ever large-scale presentation of contemporary Americal editorial cartoon in the exhibition rooms of the House of Humour and Satire.

This is Daryl Cagle's introduction to the exhibition:
"The cartoonists displayed here are part of my newspaper “syndication package” (see CagleWorld.com). More than half of the newspapers in the USA subscribe to the package so this exhibition shows the cartoon view of Trump that most Americans readers see. A third of the USA supports Trump, so why are there no cartoons supporting Trump here? Editorial cartooning is a negative art form. Cartoons that say something nice are lousy cartoons. American editors often complain about a lack of “pro-Trump” cartoons.а

We, editorial cartoonists, rely on “clichés” that allow us to draw cartoons that convey complex ideas with few words. Our palette of clichés is limited to images readers would know and when there is only one subject dominating the news (Trump), and only one point of view (anti-Trump), we see the same monsters, Pinocchios and Nazis, over and over – but monsters are fun, and we will be seeing Trump monsters for three more years – at least.

Newspaper readers in the USA see lots of cartoons by international cartoonists through our Cagle newspaper package, but readers from around the world rarely see American editorial cartoons. This exhibition is your opportunity to see what the public debate looks like in the USA – it looks like: Godzilla, King Kong, Frankenstein, the Ku Klux Klan, Dracula, Hitler and Satan."

Cartoonists' Descent
Daryl Cagle. Editorial Cartoons
/5 October 2017 - 28 February 2018, Room 5/

Besides the selected collection Trump - Nine Months Later, American cartoonist Daryl Cagle is showing a solo exhibition of 36 cartoons in this year's edition of Cartoonists' Descent. But who is Daryl Cagle?

He is one of the most productive American cartoonists over the past forty years. He went to college at UC Santa Barbara. Then he moved to New York City where he worked for fifteen years with Jim Henson’s Muppets, illustrating scores of books, magazines and all manner of products. Daryl contributed to many newspapers and media services before he became the cartoonist for Slate.com in 2000; in 2005 Daryl moved from Slate.com to become the cartoonist for the internet's top news site, msnbc.com and later NBCnews.com. Daryl’s work is now syndicated to over 850 subscribing newspapers, including half of America’s daily, paid circulation newspapers. In 2001, Daryl started a new syndicate, Cagle Cartoons, Inc. (www.Cagle.com) distributing Daryl's cartoons and the work of about seventy editorial cartoonists and columnists. Daryl is a past president of the National Cartoonists Society and the National Cartoonists Society Foundation..

Daryl Cagle sat on the jury of the 23rd International Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art, Gabrovo 2017. He will be a special guest to the opening of Cartoonists' Descent-2017 and will give lectures to the public in Gabrovo and Veliko Tarnovo.

Cartoonists' Descent
100 Years since the October Revolution – exhibition of Arhigum Club, Ukraine
/5 October 2017 - 28 February 2018, Room 5/

The exhibition features cartoons (84 works by 21 artists) from 1917 until 2017 looking back on the October Revolution and its promises.

‘How did the country we were born in and raised look like?’ asks Viktor Kudin, head of the Arhigum Caricature Club in Ukraine and answers:

‘It was the country of the ‘Big Lie’, the country of the dictatorship of the party leaders where the existing structures permeated the whole of society. At that moment it seemed impossible that the monolith of Party and people would ever fall apart. The regime was not afraid of any physical action against it; its main fear was the ideological and spiritual protest embodied in words and pictures. To beat it, there were departments of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs in the form of creative unions of artists, composers and writers.’

‘Throughout the history of the USSR, I do not know of a single picture by any artist in the territory of the country that was used against the government,’ says another club member Vladimir Kazanevsky.

But somewhere in the seventies of the last century, artists began participating in international cartoon contests. Ambiguous works related to power started appearing too. Everybody was delighted with it.

At that time, Michael Zlatkovsky became the main ‘anti-Soviet guy’ of the period. The Arhigum Club did not lag behind either. Artists such as Kosobukin, Kazanevsky, Kudin, Kazansky received first places at international competitions while their works could still not be published in the Soviet Union.

Cartoonists' Descent
With(out) Words – solo exhibition of Margarita Yancheva, Bulgaria
/5 October 2017 - 28 February 2018, Room 5/

The invitation to show a solo exhibition is part of the prize awarded to Margarita Yancheva by the House of Humour and Satire at the 42nd National Cartoon Exhibition in April 2017 in Sofia. She is the fifteenth consecutive winner of this special prize. The exhibition features 32 original cartoons.

Margarita Yancheva was born in 1971 in Sofia where she lives and works. She is a contributor to Starshel newspaper and a member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists, section Cartoons.

She has shown her work in group exhibitions in Bulgaria Turkey, Greece, Serbia, France and Spain. Over the last years, Yancheva has had solo exhibitions in Slovakia, Macedonia and Bulgaria.

In 1997 she won the prize of Starshel newspaper given to a young artist followed by more prestigious distinctions: prize of section Cartoons to the Union of Bulgarian Artists at the 37th National Cartoon Exhibition (2012); second prize at the International Cartoon Biennial, Vercelli, Italy (2014); Silver Mask prize in Vevchani, Macedonia (2015); prize of Starshel newspaper and prize of the Museum House of Humour and Satire at the 42nd National Cartoon Exhibition, Sofia (2017).

Margarita Yancheva will be a special guest at the opening of Cartoonists' Descent 2017.

Cartoonists' Descent
Metaphors and Propaganda. Papagal newspaper from 1939 to 1953
Papagal newspaper reproductions
/5 October 2017 - 28 February 2018, Room 5/

The exhibition features the study conducted by artist, researcher and author Anton Staykov on the history of Bulgarian satirical newspaper Papagal (Parrot) from 1939 until 1953. On show are 40 reproductions of the newspaper and 80 digitized images displayed on a monitor. They feature Bulgaria’s destiny in the tragic wartime transition from a kingdom to a people’s republic through the lens of cartoon, propaganda and the stereotypes of the neighbours and the great powers.

Anton Stykov sat on the jury of the 23rd International Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art, Gabrovo 2017. He majored in painting at Nikolay Pavlovich Higher Institute of Fine Arts. Then he continued his studies taking an animation course in Israel. He has a PhD degree in semiotics of advertising. Staykov is co-founder of Comic Strips section to the Union of Bulgarian Artists; curator of the international exhibition Sofia Comics Expo 2014 and the First National Exhibition of Bulgarian Comic Strips, 2013. He has written numerous articles on writers, artists and translators for Bulgarian newspapers and magazines and has had scientific papers published in collections and yearbooks of Sofia University and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

In his introduction to the study and the exhibtiiton, Staykov states: "As early as the end of the 19th century Europe sees the publication of such periodicals which provide information and spread propaganda in a funny, simplified and often outright manipulative manner. A large-size cartoon or a sequence of pictures (comics-like) presents a topical political event in a satirical form making use of a metaphor easy to understand. The world is shown as a stylized stage on which popular clichéd characters, which represent different countries, parties and groups, play-act relationships of love, hatred and treachery among others. "

It is worth noting that Papagal is bilingual; before 1944 it is subsequently published in Bulgarian and English; Bulgarian and German; Bulgarian and Hungarian. After 1948 it comes out in Bulgarian and Turkish. The different political regimes during which the newspaper comes out determine its purposes, artsitic quality and the circle of authors and artists contributing to it.

Cartoonists'' Descent
'Starshel' and Friends
Cartoons, documentary materials
/5 October 2017 - 28 Februart 2018, Room 7/

Starshel newspaper - the pioneer of satire in Bulgaria - has been partner and supporter of the House of Humour and Satire since the foundation of the Museum. Therefore, 'Starshel' and Friends, part of this year's Cartoonists' Descent, carries the feeling of a genuinely friendly visit. The exhibition features original cartoons and documentary materials from the newspaper's archives. But who can better present Starshel than a long-standing member of the editorial team? The floor is given to Rumen Belchev:

"No other Bulgarian newspaper has been in circulation for seventy years nonstop without changing either its name or character.
Every Friday since the beginning in the distant 1946,the prickly masthead drawn by Boris Angelushev brightens up the news stands.
The satirical publications of the former socialists countries died away one after the other, but Starshel (Gadfly) has continued its indomitable march forward.
How come?
Because Starshel is not a standard newspaper; it is a community of writers, artists and readers.
It is even more than a community; it is a true club of critically thinking people who have embraced the Starshel slogan:
‘Opposition to any authority; resistance to any stupidity!’
The exhibition, which puts together drawings from the editorial-board’s archive by three generations of Starshel artists, is dedicated to all friends of the newspaper and all friends ofrespectability and free speech.
Some of the caricatured political physiognomies are hard to remember any longer; however, it only proves that political career may be long or short, but to all social climbers’ regret, art is eternal!
They will last in history, but caricatured and lampooned.
Most of them truly deserve it!
The exhibition features caricatures and cartoons by 17 artists: Velin Andreev, Gencho Simeonov, Donyo Donev, Milko Dikov, Georgi Chavdarov, Georgi Chaushov, Valeri Lyutov, Nikolay Pekarev, Ivaylo Ninov, Mircho Mirchev, Hristo Komarnitski, Lyubomir Mihaylov, Chavdar Nikolov, Svetlin Stefanov, Ivan Kutuzov, Ivailo Tsvetkov and Matgarita Yancheva.
Except cartoons, displayed in the exhibition are tens of documents and photographs from the newspaper’s seventy-year history."