The Society of Illustrators expects to draw crowds to Hudson Yards this weekend for the annual MoCCA Arts Festival. Hundreds of New York- and Brooklyn-based cartoonists, publishers, and other artists will turn out for Manhattan’s largest independent comics, cartoon, and animation festival. This year’s installment pushes beyond the boroughs of New York, though, with a special emphasis on breaking down borders.
The artists of Cartooning for Peace will mount a special exhibit, “Drawing Across Borders,” and will participate in panels and tabling to draw attention to the cartoonists who fight political battles through comedy. Cartooning for Peace, a collaboration between the United Nations and international cartoonists, was founded in 2006 and celebrates political cartoonists from Cuba, Iran, Colombia, Burkina Faso, and beyond.
New Yorker cartoonist and writer Liza Donnelly has curated the association’s MoCCA exhibit. Donnelly is the author of Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons, and also advocates for freedom of speech as a cultural envoy for the US State Department.
Donnelly selected specific cartoons by Cartooning for Peace members to highlight especially important political issues this year — including migration, borders, the environment, women, and war. The long and diverse lineup of artists on display will include Iranian cartoonist Firoozeh Mozaffar, who draws beautiful sketches criticizing politicians and violence against women; Israeli artist Michel Kichka, who illustrates his family’s experience surviving the Holocaust and his relationship with his father; and Colombian illustrator Elena Ospina, who was the only female cartoonist active in the Latin American “cartel de humor” during the 1980s.
Plenty of others will have work on display at the festival, including U.S. artists Ann Telnaes and Jeff Danziger, Jordanian cartoonist Emad Hajjaj, and Cartooning for Peace founder Jean Plantu. The exhibit will be open all weekend, but to hear the cartoonists speak, stop by the Cartooning for Peace panel at noon on Saturday where Donnelly, Kichka, Danzinger, and Telnaes will present on the group’s art and history.
After you’ve taken in the incredible work of these international political cartoonists, dive into the rest of the MoCCA festival experience — where over 400 exhibitors are scheduled to speak on panels and have their art on display or for sale.