ART and Cartoons in Canadian Politics

The Canadian art scene may be one of the lesser known ones on a grand scale. However, we have a long history of visual art, which is important to discuss. An integral part of Canadian identity is the Aboriginal culture. This is no less true in Canadian art. Artists like Norval Morrisseau, who use traditional Native techniques to create colorful and abstract images of nature, have long defined Canadian art. While Morrisseau prefers to paint simply beautiful pictures, artists like Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun use the traditional Native techniques to highlight issues the Aboriginal community faces today.

 His 2015 painting, titled “The One Percent”, highlights the growing disparities between Aboriginal people and the rest of the Canadian population. This isn’t the only provocative picture Yuxweluptun is responsible for. His pictures reveal the anger behind many social issues including the construction oil pipelines and lack of recognition for Canada’s involvement with Residential Schools. Yuxweluptun is one of many Aboriginal voices fighting for equal treatment, only he uses his paintbrush instead.

Just recently, Vancouver-based artist Pia Guerra’s cartoon went viral, after it was retweeted over 27 000 times. Guerra drew the picture after the controversial announcement that Steve Bannon would join the Principal’s Committee of the National Security Council.

Figure 2 Pia Guerra’s caricature drawing of Steve Bannon and Donald Trump ©Pia Guerra

Of course, the artists above are only a few examples of the way people use their artistic talents to convey a message. In some areas Toronto, the walls are covered in graffiti – street artists have made their mark. The comic sections in local and national newspapers are also an important part of the Canadian identity. For those who still read the newspaper, these comics always find the irony in the news. Canadians understand that it is up to the people to have a voice and be loud. But they also understand that having a voice doesn’t have to limit oneself to raising awareness by shouting. Visual art and caricatures are integral to society, and Canadians exemplify this in every way.

-Luise S.