Cartooning is the art of danger, says Iranian cartoonist Kianoush Ramezani. For one thing, because it is a tool for addressing tough subjects. But also because where there is no freedom of expression, cartoonists themselves are at risk. Where the cartoonist is not free to criticise, says Ramezani, there can be no secure society.
Kianoush Ramezani has lived in France since 2009 as a political refugee. He fled Iran because of his involvement in Cartoonists' Rights Network International and the Green Movement, which led the surge of anti-government protest after the 2009 presidential election. The regime countered with a wave of raids and arrests. As founder of Iran’s first independent cartoonists’ association in defiance of the pro-government cartooning mainstream, Ramezani found that even fellow cartoonists had become his enemies.
A cartoonist lives two parallel lives, says Ramezani: he is both a journalist and a visual artist. Cartooning also has the power to go beyond the news, and make a point or propose solutions in an accessible way. But this is possible only in a society where the political cartoonist can work freely without fear of repercussions.
Ramezani is the founder of the SKETCH FREEDOM world movement dedicated to exiled cartoonists. He has curated many exhibitions both in Iran and France, including the Exile International Cartoon Expo in Paris. His cartoons have appeared regularly on Iranian websites, and in European media such as Courrier International and Arte. He received the First International Editorial Cartoon Prize in 2012 from Kofi Annan and the city of Geneva, Switzerland.
Kianoush Ramezani's website: www.kianoushs.com