The shortlisted entries of this year’s Animate Europe comics competition, challenging creators with to come up with a comic addressing the value of the European Union, are now on tour around the continent. With Britain’s involvement in the EU drawing to a close, despite the difficulties reaching that end, there has to be more than a little irony that the winner was David Shaw, from Ireland, with “Seeing the Bigger Picture“.
Organised by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom with the theme “Europe+“, the international jury of comic festival directors and artists praised David for his story and art.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom first launched their international comics competition Animate Europe back in 2013, and has continued the challenge every other year since then. In 2015, they asked the artists for stories on the future of the European Union, with “Europe Fast Forward”, and in 2017 they were looking for comics on how to re-animate the European Union, in “Re-Animate Europe”.
This year’s topic was “Europe+” – and as downthetubes previously reported, the organisation was looking for to stories on the added value of the European Union. What are the advantages of the European Union? What did the EU do well according to you – in general terms or in your personal experience?
The jury, consisting of Mathieu Diez, director of the Lyon BD Festival, Kalle Hakkola, curator, producer and author, Lucie Lomová, comic author, Julie Tait, director of the Lakes International Comic Festival and Judith Vanistendael, comic author, selected five finalists in early January 2019 from all the competition submissions from 27 countries around the world, who received a grant of €800 to finish their eight-page comics story. Overall winner David Shaw received an additional prize of €500.
The short-listed entries were “Seeing the Bigger Picture” by David Shaw; “What has the EU Ever Done for Us” by Bruno Cordoba; “Good Morning, Europe” by Paul Rietzl; “The Puddle” by Marta Okrasko; and “Something is Missing” by Juliana Penkova.
David’s winning story focused on the Northern Ireland conflict, told around the lives of a homosexual couple. The powerful tale examines not only the impact the peace process has had but the current political situation in Northern Ireland, noting European Union investment and support for the ongoing work to maintain it.
FNF Board member Anne Brasseur, who guest speaker at the award ceremony at the Belgian Comic Strip Centre in Brussels late last month, spoke about the importance of the European project and the European elections, and stressed the relevance of the comic project on the possibility of young people’s participation.
“We do not have to love Europe,” she concluded, “but we need Europe”.
Available to read online, along with the winning entries of past competitions, the finalists strips have also been published in an anthology and the strips are now touring Europe as a traveling exhibition. The tour that started with an open air exhibition on the banks of the Seine in Paris, in cooperation with the German Foreign Ministry’s center in Paris and the city of Paris.
The finalists original art, partly as originals, partly as prints, is alsocurrently being exhibited at the Goethe-Institut Lyon, until 29th May 2019, alongside another touring exhibition, Sign(s) for Europe, in which 18 renowned and award-winning book illustrators from five European countries offer their personal view of Europe and the EU.
• You can read all the finalists strip’s here on the Friedrich Neumann Foundation web site | To obtain a hard copy, contact Ms Ute Entrup – firstname.lastname@example.org