It came as much a surprise as it was an honour for Cartoonists Rights Network International Executive Director Terry Anderson when he was recognised by the Salon de la Caricature du Dessin de Presse et d’Humour, Saint-Just-le-Martel – Europe’s largest festival of editorial cartoons – for his work in the defence of cartoonists’ rights around the world. In fact, had he known he was to receive such a prize, he might have worn his kilt that day!
The 41st annual Salon, which concluded earlier this month was marked by other successes for CRNI: the organisation’s regional representative from Ukraine, Vladimir Kazanevsky, received the Salon’s Crayons de porcelain – Presse International. This success follows his receipt of a Kofi Annan Courage in Cartooning Award from Freedom Cartoonists Association, Geneva earlier in the year. Past clients of CRNI Khaliq Alizada (Afghanistan) and Nime (Algeria) were among several refugee cartoonists showcased in a special exhibition organised by L’Atelier de Artistes en Exile, Paris. Alizada was also one of three cartoonists to receive a Prix de Club de Presse from the Limousin Press Club before the Salon’s conclusion.
Among the various awards and trophies given during the Salon is the Prix Gérard Vandenbroucke, named after the Salon’s founder, former mayor of Saint-Just-le-Martel, then premier vice-president of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine regional council and more recently president of the Limoges Metropole area. Vandenbroucke passed away in 2019.
The beautiful ceramic trophy takes the form of a sketchbook opened at its middle, crafted out of the local porcelain for which the region is well known. Across the double page spread a cartoon by Eric Laplace (pen-name Placide) depicts the good folk of Saint-Just-le-Martel welcoming the world’s cartoonists as they have done every year over four decades. It’s an image well known to all who have visited the festival since it was commissioned, after Vandenbroucke’s passing, as a commemorative mural. The cartoon and the pages before it are representative of the Salon’s fine tradition of celebrating the art of cartooning. To the right a pencil rests on the remaining blank space – alluding to work that is yet to be done, and which will undoubtedly be encouraged by this award.
Sponsored by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine council, the Prix Gérard Vandenbroucke commemorates a committed politician and true internationalist as well as a tireless exponent for cartoonists and their cultural significance. Hence the award recognises those who, like its namesake, have taken significant action in the defence of cartoonists’ rights, their freedom of expression, and who share a global view.
Past recipients of the award include: Pierre Ballouhey, president of France-Cartoons, the membership organisation for Francophone editorial and press cartoonists; Jean Plantu, the co-founder and past president of Cartooning for Peace, the global campaigning and educational organisation of cartoonists based in France; and Nicolas Jacquette & Jérôme Liniger, founders and (along with Chloé Verlhac & Anderson) co-directors of the Press & Cartooning Global Forum, a biannual gathering held in Paris, and where projects that use cartoonists’ work to further democratic values are shared.
This, the fourth presentation of the award, comes in recognition of Anderson’s committed work as Executive Director of Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI); an organisation founded in 1999 with a mission to strengthen the interconnectedness of cartoonists around the world, campaign to protect their human rights and defend those threatened as a result of their work. Since taking the reigns of the organisation in 2019, Terry Anderson has done much to spread its influence by establishing ties with cartooning organisations in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas as well as fostering relationships with leading freedom of expression and human rights organisations worldwide.
Besides his work for CRNI, Terry Anderson is an internationally renowned cartoonist and caricaturist, with over twenty-five years’ work under his belt. A past president of the Scottish Artists Union, he has a long history of collaborative work across borders. As Scottish Cartoon Art Studio coordinator he has also curated many international projects, shows and exhibitions, and his passion extends globally into his work for CRNI and as co-director of the Press & Cartooning Global Forum. He is frequently asked to broadcast and speak publicly and lead workshops on the subject of cartooning.
While Anderson is the first recipient not based in France, he considers it, and particularly Saint-Just-le-Martel, a “maison spirituelle”. Not having attended the festival since 2019, his return trip this year felt like an overdue reacquaintance with old friends. Receiving the award cemented it as a homecoming. Earlier, he had contributed to a round table discussion on the function of and challenges facing cartoonists chaired by Fabienne Desseux, author of the new history of French cartooning “Qui veut la peau du dessin de presse?”. Also on the panel were cartoonists Ballouhey, Cami, Fremion, Kak (current president of Cartooning for Peace) and Placide (whose artwork adorns the Prix Gérard Vandenbroucke).
“I can’t express how much it means to me to receive an award in Gérard’s name. If I can be a fraction of the friend and champion for cartoonists that he was I will be entirely satisfied. I want to thank everyone in Saint-Just-le-Martel for their great kindness and warmth; the board of directors, the regional representatives and all the allies of CRNI, and most especially its founder Dr. Robert Russell for entrusting me with his mission; my colleagues at the Scottish Cartoon Art Studio and in particular Tommy Sommerville, without whom I may never have found my way to Saint-Just in the first place; dear friends Nicolas, Jérôme and Chloé who share this honour; and my wife Yasmin whose boundless support I rely upon more than anything else”.Terry Anderson, on receiving his award from its namesake’s daughter Isabelle Vandenbroucke-Couty
Text – John Curtis