Belfast’s “Laughter in the Dark – Illustrating the Troubles” exhibition includes free workshop by 2000AD artist PJ Holden

The First Day of Stormont by Ian Knox (1998)
The First Day of Stormont by Ian Knox (1998)

A free political cartoons exhibition “Laughter in the Dark – Illustrating the Troubles” is running in Belfast’s Linen Hall Library for the rest of the month.

The exhibition which charts the birth and rise of the political cartoon and its important role in the political landscape of Northern Ireland.

The Disagreement by Ian Knox (1998)
The Disagreement by Ian Knox (1998)

It features examples of original artwork by Irish News cartoonist Ian Knox and the late Rowel Friers, who worked for the Belfast Telegraph, as well as cartoons by artists such as The Guardian‘s Martin Rowson.

2000AD artist PJ Holden leads a free cartoon workshop there on 22nd January, for over 16s only. Running from 11.30 – 1.00pm, participation is free but you must book a place, and places are limited. If you are interested please book a place via the Linen Hall Library web site.

After he moved to the Irish News, Ian Knox also began working for the BBC Northern Ireland current affairs programme Hearts & Minds and told the BBC for their report on the exhibition that drawing cartoons is “either a feast or a famine”.

“Sometimes it’s hard to pick just one thing to hang your hook on,” he said.

“It’s not like square meals a day that you sit down to, but that’s part of the fun – the moment of panic, then the rejection and then the acceptance and the rush to get it done, because you’re always drawing at a high rate of knots”.

The exhibition is part of the Library’s Divided Society project which is digitising large parts of the Northern Ireland Political Collection, held by the Linen Hall.

Laughter in the Dark – Illustrating the Troubles runs at the Linen Hall Library, 17 Donegall Square North, Belfast, Belfast BT1 5GB until the end of January 2018

Opening times – Library: Monday – Friday: 9.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday: 10am – 3.30pm. Coffee Shop: Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm, Saturday, 10am – 3.30pm. Tel: 028 9032 1707 | Web: linenhall.com. Admission: falthough charges apply for group tours and some events

Featured cartoons copyright Ian Knox

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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