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40° Salão Internacional de Humor de Piracicaba

I don't know if Piracicaba is an unknown name for someone who does not usually live in the state of Sao Paulo, anyway for me it was unknown until a few years ago. In fact this town located at 150 km at the North of the megalopole Sao Paulo, celebrates today the 40th anniversary of its "Salão Internacional de Humor de Piracicaba",  that put it in a special and probably unique event. In these
most difficult times of crisis, wars, unemployment and many other scourges, when the publishing scene is living on the razor's edge, there are some people in Brazil who manage to get together their cartoonists and international graphic artists from all over the world in a great "Salón de Humor" and, moreover, they're able to do this during 40 years ! And moreover, not only they do it, but the level is rising year after year ; and each of the persons involved is full of an incredible energy.

I had the great honour to be invited as a member of the jury for this 40th edition, together with the leaders Zélio Alves Pinto and Ciça Alves Pinto. The  members of the jury were Roberto Negreiros and Luciano Magno, we were the "foreigners" Carlos Brito, Antonio Antunes and I.

The first jury examined more than 1000 artworks and reduced them to 442. In addition to many Brazilian artists there were cartoonists from 64 other countries, which shows clearly the international recognized level in the world. Anyway, with the website of  FECO (Federation of Cartoonists Organizations) we have been very involved in that success and we think that in the future our collaboration will increase.

We had to choose awards in several categories : caricature, that is the strength of the Brazilian cartoonists, with many good representatives, and also international artists. Then, the editorial cartoon award, the humor award, the strip award and, in addition, a category about the theme "football". The overall tension was increasing as the counting of the points progressed ; as a result, we could see the faces of the members of the jury displaying an expression of satisfaction or dissenting when their choice was in accordance or not with the general emerging trend. There were many comings and goings : going back to look at the works, analyzing, commenting, and then coming back to agree or disagree. The jury never is unanimous at first sight in all choices and the most interesting thing, in my opinion, is the discussion that can take place, or not, between the members. This time, the debate was quite moderate ; it could have been more animated, but the result would be probably the same. And then, everyone felt a little twinge of sorrow when his or her favourite cartoon didn't get the "Grand Prix" because the other members of the jury didn't vote for it. But this diversity of points of view creates a real dynamism in such an important selection.

Congratulations for this "Salão Internacional de Humor de Piracicaba" and I wish many years of success for the present and future generations. I do hope that Brazil, with its newspapers, can be a good place where comics and editorial cartoons can be positive models for the medias in other countries and with goodwill it is possible to keep the burning flame of the graphic expression alive.

Marlene Pohle, Stuttgart, August 2013.
translation: Bernard Bouton

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