Northern Ireland news

New exhibition charts birth and rise of the political cartoon

One of the political cartoons by Irish News cartoonist, Ian Knox, which will be featured in the 'Laughter in the Dark - Illustrating the Troubles' exhibition at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast

A NEW exhibition which charts the birth and rise of the political cartoon and its use in Northern Ireland will open to the public in Belfast next week.

Laughter in the Dark - Illustrating the Troubles features work by prominent cartoonists including Ian Knox of The Irish News, Gerald Scarfe, Rowel Friers and Brian John Spencer.

The exhibition is part of the Linen Hall Library's Divided Society project which is digitising large parts of its huge Northern Ireland Political Collection.

It will feature 12 panels telling the story of when political cartoons first emerged in the 17th century and how they became an important way of talking about political events in Ireland, including partition and independence.

In total, around 24 cartoons are featured in the exhibition.

Gavin Carville, who manages the Divided Society project, said it would also explore how cartoons depicted the start of Troubles, following on into the peace process.

"Obviously, cartoons are so visible," he said.

"They tell a story in a single image and they are so easy to absorb and they can deal with very complex issues in a single image.

"I think there will be something for everyone. Some serious, some funny, some that make you think. There are some from the 17th century up to present day. Something for everyone really.

"Myself and the project's education and outreach officer, Rachel Brady, have gone through the library's archive of cartoons to select the best cartoons."

The exhibition will run at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast city centre from January 8 until January 30.

One of the political cartoons by Gerald Scarfe, which will be featured in the 'Laughter in the Dark - Illustrating the Troubles' exhibition at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast

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