Photo : Fundasaun Mahein
Political cartoons, comics, and caricatures serve as dynamic and creative expressions within thriving democracies. They are firmly rooted in a tradition that emphasises the profound importance of freedom of expression. In many Asian nations, however, political cartoonists who expose, criticize, or satirize political leaders, often face the risk of intimidation or even imprisonment.
Recently, Fundasaun Mahein produced Timor-Leste’s first-ever political cartoon, available for viewing at this link https://www.fundasaunmahein.org/2023/08/29/timor-leste-atu-falla-tebes-ka-lae/ ). This cartoon portrays the Prime Minister in a visually striking manner, riding a crocodile (symbolizing Timor) towards the perilous ‘fiscal cliff’ (symbolizing the decline in petroleum revenue). The artwork depicts Timorese citizens tugging on a rope tied to the crocodile’s tail, symbolizing their desperate effort to prevent the Prime Minister from leading Timor-Leste into economic catastrophe.
Fundasaun Mahein is now eager to promote political cartooning talent through the Timor-Leste 1st Political Cartoon Competition in 2023. We cordially invite Timorese artists and amateur illustrators to craft a political cartoon, caricature, or a comic strip (limited to a maximum of three frames) using their preferred medium and style, all presented on a single page. The submitted artwork must address one of the current national security, public safety, or foreign policy issues. You can find a comprehensive list of themes by perusing FM’s website: https://www.fundasaunmahein.org .
This competition is open to Timorese citizens residing within the country. It is, however, not open to anybody who is a family member or relation of an employee or former employee of Fundasaun Mahein. The deadline for submissions is October 27, 2023. The winners will be selected by a panel of independent judges whose identities will be revealed with the announcement of winners on November 3, 2023. Prizes will be awarded as follows:
1st Prize: $200
2nd Prize: $100
3rd Prize: $50
Furthermore, the winning cartoons will be featured as part of an article by Fundasaun Mahein. We kindly request all participants to place their submissions (a maximum of three cartoons per contestant) in a sealed envelope, clearly indicating their name and contact details on the envelope as well as on the back of the cartoon page, and deliver it in person to the FM office, Rua da Felicidade, Aldea Central, Suku Gricenfor, Dili. Your creative contributions are greatly anticipated!