[ENTERTAINMENT]Politicians Facing the Point of the Pen

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Politicians Facing the Point of the Pen

Sometimes, a witty caricature of Bill Clinton, his eyes fixed not on his work but on the curvaceous figure of an intern, is more terse and to the point than reading an unpleasant list of what Clinton did in his "improper relationship."

Caricatures are especially powerful in Mexico, where cartoons are said to play a major role in establishing political awareness.

Beginning last Friday through May 27, the Seoul Animation Center and the Mexican Embassy are holding a free exhibition of political cartoons from Mexico.

Despite they part the play in democracy in Mexico, caricaturists there have not always been applauded for their work. Political cartoonists are the object of such irreverent appellations as moneros, meaning a person drawing a monkey. But this ignores the important role cartoons have played in forcing audiences to think critically. As the renowned Mexican caricaturist, Carlos Monsivais, remarked, "A nation that is not aware of history should be punished by caricature."

The exhibition brings together the works of 25 Mexican caricaturists, all members of the Mexico Cartoonist Association. You won't need more than the sketchiest knowledge of Mexican political history to relish these brilliantly witty works. All the works are accompanied by captions in Korean.

And in particular the works by Jesus Castruita Martin, better known by his pen name, Castrux, are noteworthy. He is an experienced caricaturist of great presence in Mexico, and his cartoons have been serialized for more than 20 years in newspapers and magazines. He also published 35 volumes of cartoons and caricatures. He was honored by being awarded the cartoon prize by the Mexican government - which includes, ironically, some of the objects of his satire - and the Constantino Escalante prize by the Mexico Press Club.

Park Hye-young, manager of the Seoul Animation Center, recommends that viewers appreciate all the works instead of focusing on any specific caricaturist. "This exhibition aims to educate viewers about the history of Mexican caricature, which stretches back as far as 100 years," she said.

Another exhibition of a similar kind is scheduled to follow under the auspices of Seoul Animation Center, with the cooperation of a number of other foreign cultural centers. The center successfully held the 1st Great Britain Animation Festival last year. The second is scheduled for this December.

Seoul Animation Center is located in Yejang-dong, near Namsan, Seoul. For more information, call 02-3455-8484 (Korean service only) or visit their Web site at www.ani.seoul.kr (Korean only).

by Ki Sun-min

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