Robert Virtue writes about the 2014 Parkes Comics Fest, that happened a couple days ago at the Parkes Library and I'm posting late because the links pile up in no discernible order and it's hard to keep on top of things.
Dr Matt Finch and Tracie Mauro from the Parkes Shire Library. (Pic yoinked from abc.net.au).
Animator/film maker/artist Merton Lacey was born today in Purulia, India in 1902. Lacey was a newsreel cameraman for Fox Movietone News in Calcutta and between 1926 and 1940 made more than 40 short cartoon film advertisements which ran in India, Burma and Ceylon.Lacey was also artist, cartoonist and publicity manager for The Calcutta Statesman and created a comic-strip mongoose character called 'Benji' that appeared on the Children's Page. In 1947 Lacey immigrated with his family to New Zealand.
An animation created by Lacey at the Auckland Zoo is recorded in the New Zealand Film archive from 1930 although I'm presuming this is erroneous as Lacey presumably wasn't in New Zealand at that time.
Lacey contributed a half page comic strip Nez and Zena to the short lived New Zealand Pictorial magazine during 1954-1955. Lacey also had two comics featured in George F H Taylor's Christmas Annual, Eddie and Tu in Adventure on Wheels (14 pages) and Eddie and Tu and The Treasure (3 pages). I consider the square bound Christmas Annual (published circa late fifties)the first large collection of New Zealand comics with over 100 pages of George F H Taylor's comics alongside Lacey's work. During the seventies Lacey was also involved with the New Zealand Woman's Weekly.
Sam's comic brought awareness of an Australian Government commisioned comic launched last November as a disincentive for refugees to attempt entry to Australia via people smugglers. Mostly wordless this comic contains warnings in dominant Afghan languages Dari and Pashto and has been distributed overseas as part of an effort to discourage asylum seekers from coming to Australia through people smugglers.
This Goverment commissioned comic was largely vilified for many reasons from it's message through to it's execution and revealed by the Guardian writers, Oliver Laughland and Asher Wolf to have been part of a two million dollar contact held by a Hong Kong based Global agency STATT Consultancy with Australian Customs and Border Protection to provide "education and training services".
Refugees immigration policy and asylum seekers in Australia have been a hot topic for a quite a while. A year ago I walked into a 'Boat People' conversation between an irate woman, another man, and the owner of the bookshop we were in. I was 'on my day job' at the time and she asked me how I'd feel if Polish people moved here and took my job from me. I mentioned that was a ridiculous scenario and that I was an immigrant myself from New Zealand. I then told her the bookshop owner had migrated from New Zealand and it turned out the other man was from Britain. Australia's made up of people from other places, some folk come here from peaceful countries, some from war zones, can't we show a little compassion for the people that need it? Sadly her response to my suggestion that she had 'come from elsewhere' and the original people of Australia were here long before 'her people' was, "That was a long time ago, they should get over it."
Many creatives in Australia are protesting the Governments handling of Asylum seekers with a one reaction this week being the launch of a crowdfunding campaign to produce a comic to encourage people seeking asylum in Australia. As of this writing the campaign has achieved almost 30% of it's target in two days.
We would like to publish a comic in direct opposition to what the
government has published. We have no plans to directly encourage people
to seek asylum within Australia; instead we are aiming to create a comic
explaining that seeking asylum in any country that has signed the UN
Refugee Convention (as Australia has) is not illegal, that there are
many Australians who disagree with the government's treatment of asylum
seekers and who are fighting for their fair treatment; and that there
are a large amount of resources available for asylum seekers who are
already settled in Australia, such as the ASRC and RISE.
From the facebook event page, Sam Wallman and the global mail last week launched a piece of comics
journalism about the experience of refugees living in detention in
australia, from the perspective of an ex-employee of serco. a large
selection of these drawings are being shown on the walls of H.O.P. on
sunday, and people are invited to take part in a silent auction
throughout the day. money raised will go directly to R.I.S.E. (Refugee
Survivors and Ex-Detainees), an organisation run and governed entirely
by ex-detainees, for the benefit of those recently released from
detention. 10% of the artwork's sales will go to H.O.P. to help pay the
rent of the space. If you're unable to make it to H.O.P. on Sunday,
email bids are welcome - email email@example.com with a price and a
description of the drawing you're interested in.