With his insightful cartoons, Carlos Latuff, has developed himself as the inspirational voice of the brow beaten nations worldwide. Originally from Brazil, his political cartoons have influenced many nations throughout the whole Arab region in which he expressed oppression and coercion through his vibrant sketches. Since 2011 has paved the path for revolutionary art, Latuff has been the mindset behind some of the infamous cartoons that went viral through the Internet. Read more to know about the artist behind the sketches.
1- The world is going through a wide angled revolution, how did this influence your cartoons? Do you consider 2011 a playground for your pencil?
I’ve been making cartoons for social movements for a long time, but 2011 is definitely one of the most prolific ages for cartoonists.
2- Do you think graphics and advanced publishing technologies have changed the fundamental challenges facing a creative person?
There are no boundaries for the artist who takes advantage of new technologies, especially social networks. Today it is easy for anyone to communicate with a big audience using a blog or Twitter.
3- If they say a picture tells a thousand words, did you find it difficult portraying Egypt’s Jan 25 Revolution with all the showers of events and mixed messages?
In fact I try to portray the wishes of Egyptian revolutionaries; I put my art at their service. Of course I also put my own views in my cartoons, but I try to express opinions of Egyptians, to give them a voice through my art.
4- Your art is really powerful, and the biggest prove of this is that you’re banned from visiting the occupied Palestinian territories. Does this ban compromise your art in any way?
Of course not. In fact it exposes the fake democracy Israel is. When you prevent an artist or intellectuals like Finkelstein or Chomsky to enter Israel merely for their opinions, it’s because you are far from having a real democracy.
5- Did you ever receive death threats?
Yes, in 2006 a website associated with Likud party, suggested that Israel should “take care” of me “in a way or another”, besides hate mails and smear campaigns on Zionists blogs and even publishing lies about me on Wikipedia.
6- What do you think is the best medium that has helped in getting your cartoons across the world?
Without the Internet the only way I could reach a large international audience is mainstream media. And obviously they are not interested in my point of view.
7- In your opinion, do you think there should be limitations on art or should artists enjoy mere freedom of expression? Nations worldwide weren’t happy with the hate cartoons towards Prophet Muhammad, although some artists saw it as freedom of expression, so what do you think about that?
That cartoon contest about the Prophet Muhammad has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It’s just another display of hatred against Muslims. Islamophobia is pretty popular in Europe, and got stronger since 2001.
8- Are you an advocate for art to be free? Why don’t you copyright your material?
Because this is not a professional job, it’s a solidarity job. I want to share my cartoons and views with people and causes worldwide.
9- Do you confine your political activism just to your cartoons or do you go on marches and demonstrations?
If I have a chance I also participate in demonstrations.
10- The cartoon you drew with Mubarak’s head in the right and a shoe written in “Jan 25” on the left was controversial as some people thought that it was too offensive, so how do you handle feedback like that?
I have no problem on being offensive with tyrants and military juntas, no matter if they are in Egypt, Brazil or elsewhere.
11- How do you see the revolutionary art scene in the Arab world in the upcoming years?
Unfortunately, I have not too much contact with it I must say. In Egypt, for example, free-minded artists are in trouble, they can get arrested for their ideas, like Ganzeer. In Libya I know that there are a collective of artists making anti-Ghaddafi cartoons.
12- Do you know what women want?