Dalcio Machado started his professional career at the Correio Popular newspaper when he was only 17 years old
The cartoonist Dálcio Machado needs no introduction. At the age of 17, the artist from Campinas started working professionally in the Correio Popular newspaper and his cartoons, caricatures, books won the world. Since then he has collected national and international awards. The most recent of these was won at the 22nd PortoCartoon World Festival in Portugal, where he won first place with a caricature by Chico Buarque. The competition featured 2,600 works by 600 artists from 70 countries. In 1999, Dálcio also won an award at the Salão de Humor de Piracicaba with another caricature by Chico Buarque.
But, before talking about the award, Dálcio talked to Caderno C about freedom of expression and the recent case of censorship by cartoonist Renato Aroeira and the blog of journalist Ricardo Noblat, after the publication of a cartoon by Bolsonaro next to a swastika. Cartoonists from Brazil and other countries joined #somostodosaroeira in defense of artistic freedom.
Notebook C - Before talking about the award that you received first place at PortoCartoon in Portugal recently, I would like you to comment on the freedom of expression of cartoonists. As an example, the recent case of Renato Aroeira. How have you dealt with this threat of censorship?
Dalcio Machado - I started as a cartoonist in the mainstream press at the age of 17, at Correio Popular and I passed eight presidents, right and left. I have always been very critical of them all, without exception. Democracy has always allowed me that. However, in an absurd setback, in the best fascist style, Bolsonaro decided that he will not accept criticism and that he will even resort to the National Security Law to silence anyone who dares to disagree with him. That's what happened with Aroeira and Ricardo Noblat. The Minister of Justice asked for an investigation by the Federal Police to investigate the Aroeira cartoon. Such absurdity could not be overlooked, democracy and freedom of expression were at stake. Then, #SomosTodosAroeira was created, where hundreds of cartoonists, including from other countries, redesigned the Aroeira cartoon with their own styles. With that, the van would have to be gigantic to take us all.
Have you ever had an episode of censorship in your work?
No, nothing important. I always had the concern to stick to the facts, only from there to put my imagination to work. However thorny the result of a cartoon, the basis was always real. Governments, however troubled they were, accepted the rules of democracy. Well, until now ...
Do you believe that #somostodosaroeira represents freedom of expression not only for cartoonists but for an entire nation?
Freedom of expression is not a right used only by artists or journalists, it is the prerogative of all of us who are under the same mantle of democracy. If we accept that a cartoonist like Aroeira loses the right to express himself, in addition to losing a valuable analysis of our society, we must also accept that tomorrow our own voice can be silenced, even if it is a mere post on a social network.
How was it to receive the news of winning first place in the PortoCartoon / Portugal award with the caricature of Chico Buarque?
I was extremely happy! The PortoCartoon Festival is one of the three most important in the world, this year alone it received 2600 works from 70 countries for the competition. The greatest cartoonists on the planet are there and, certainly, this trophy could be in the hands of any of them. Still, the result would be fair. However, one detail made everything more difficult. I had already received an award with a caricature of Chico, in 1999, at the International Humor Exhibition of Piracicaba. I had a hard time creating another work without repeating myself. It was a tremendous challenge, but it was worth every stroke! This was my fourth award there. Now, there are three first places in caricature and a third place in cartoon.
Winning cartoon 'Geni and the zeppelin'
Can you talk a little about the essence of what you wanted to portray in the award-winning cartoon at PortoCartoon?
As I'm a huge fan of Chico, before I started work, I was wondering what my favorite song would be. I wanted to use it as a background for the caricature. It was very difficult, but Geni and the zeppelin won by a millimeter. The criticism of false moralism and hypocrisy in society in the 1970s, unfortunately, remains very pertinent today. It was a tribute to Chico, but also to Geni and what she represents.
Twenty years after receiving your first prize with a caricature of Chico (today you collect many prizes) can you tell how many you have received in your career? And has this artist always inspired you, in life and in art?
As I also write poetry and song lyrics, in addition to children's books, I have always had Chico as a great inspiration. If I already loved him, now after the two awards he gave me, I will love him much more! (laughs). The first prize I received was at the age of 17, in a national humor hall promoted by UFRJ. It was a second place with a cartoon criticizing Collor. I went to receive the award in Rio de Janeiro. I lived on the farm, Fazenda Rio das Pedras, my father sewed my pocket with the money back, he said that Rio was very violent! I never stopped participating in festivals and to date I have received 120 awards in 12 countries.
In this time of pandemic, humanitarian, sanitary, political and everything else, do you feel that responsibility in art (in your case) is even more latent?
I think the cartoon, first of all, is information. The cartoonist often lays for hours on a blank paper, thinking about a creative way to interpret a certain fact, how to translate an entire news story into some strokes. This imagery information has fantastic communication power. To understand the world we live in, we need to get informed. And this information can come in many forms, including, from a cartoon.
Congratulations dear Dalcio Machado | irancartoon
Please visit the Profile and cartoons by Dalcio Machado here