By Oz Litvac
On display on the Rosenberg Library’s second floor is an exhibition titled, Coloring Outside the Lines: Black Cartoonists as Social Commentators. Curated by Kheven LaGrone this exhibit features more than 10 different cartoonists with works that depict a side not so commonly seen by many. The exhibit will run till April 7.
Cartoonists have become the voice of the youth, they represent everything true in a mostly funny but nonetheless controversial manner. The exhibition features work by Jerry Craft, Barbara Brandon-Croft, Darrin Bell and Keith Knight to name a few.
All artists have a message portrayed in humor and with that perhaps surpasses the mainstream censorship in its approach.
Like most artists, cartoonists have also felt the controversy behind their art, “hopefully I can get people starting a dialogue,” said Kieth Knight in a phone interview. “You should never censor yourself,” he added.
The cartoons displayed are by no means a joke despite their funny way of shedding important light on social, political and racial issues. Each artist brings their own style into a collective effort in hopes of reaching audiences with the often ignored truth.
“I would like to push my black community out of our comfort zone,” said Kheven LaGrone in a phone interview.
The K Chronicles, a semi-autobiographical weekly comic strip by Knight, earned him the most respected award of the industry in 2007, the Harvey Award. Knight is a prolific cartoonist and author of books such as, “The Knight Life: Chivalry Aint Dead”, and “What a Long Strange Strip It’s Been”.
Darrin Bell is a staff cartoonist at U.C Berkeley’s The Daily Californian and has been drawing for the newspaper since the 1990’s. He is a regular contributor to newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Oakland Tribune. He also has several awards under his belt.
Jerry Craft, creator of Mama’s Boyz, a comic strip syndicated since the 1990’s has also been recognized in the cartoonist world and has won many awards.. Craft has done work for Marvel Comics, several issues of Sweet 16 as well as illustrations for seven children’s books.
Also featured in the exhibit is work by Brumsic Brandon, a veteran cartoonist he has been submitting cartoon strips to mainstream publication since the 40’s. His daughter, Barbara Brandon-Croft who’s work is also in the exhibit continues his legacy.
The first nationally syndicated African American cartoonist Morrie Turner, has a piece in the exhibition dated from 2009. It serves as recent proof to his extreme passion for a cause he has dedicated his life to since his work first received nationwide attention after the assassination of Martin Luther King.
Kheven LaGrone will be having a panel discussion and lecture from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m
at the John Adams Campus Auditorium, for more information you may visit the City College Library website.