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interview with Elena Ospina from Colombia

interview with Elena Ospina from Colombia

Elena Ospina's exhibition opens at the European Cartoon Center

This Colombian illustrator and cartoonist becomes the first Latin American female cartoonist to show her multi-award-winning work at that prestigious Belgian institution. She speaks exclusively for MUNDIARIO.

 interview by Francisco Punal Suarez

Around one hundred and thirty drawings by Elena Ospina (Colombia, 1963) , with varied themes in which she has expressed her concern for children's rights, gender equality, freedom of expression, ecology, peace in the world, Among others, and also a series of caricatures by painters, writers and scientists such as Fridha Kalo, Salvador Dali, Shakespeare and Einstein, make up their expo at the European Cartoon Center, in the Belgian city of Kruishouten, which opens this June 27 and It will be open until September 12 of this year.

Along with Elena's work, another exhibition by Belgian cartoonist Lise Vanlerberghe (Izegem, Belgium, 1985) will also be inaugurated simultaneously.

“As there are fewer female cartoonists in general - says Saskia Gheysens, head of Public Relations and Communication at the ECC - our museum pays attention to the work of women, because they deserve it as quality cartoonists. We also have female artists on each jury of our International Contest, the Euro-kartoenale that we celebrate every two years ”.

“It could be said –adds Saskia- that Elena uses humor to make us think and Lise uses it to let us escape from the stress of daily life. It's great to see that both can coexist as two equal disciplines of cartoon art. "

In the history of the European Cartoon Center, the following artists have previously exhibited: the Iranian Farzane Vaziritabar, and the Portuguese Cristina Sampaio, in 2019; the Belgians Griet Blockx, and Cécile Bertrand, in 2012 and 2018, respectively, and the Egyptian Doaa Eladl, in 2015.


Elena Ospina began her work in the Colombian newspaper El Espectador. He has worked in the creation and illustration of innumerable editorial and advertising projects in Europe and Latin America, and has received more than 60 awards in international graphic humor contests, in Italy, France, Germany, Colombia, Cuba, China, Mexico, Iran, United States. States, Israel, Belgium, and other countries.

His drawings and illustrations are published in books, newspapers and magazines. In 2017 his cartoon was on the cover of the catalog of the XXI Euro-kartoenale 'The Soul', and this year he was a member of the jury of the 'Chances and Opportunities' contest. In 2019 he received the "Notary of humor" award, awarded by the University of Alicante, Spain. He is a member of Cartooning for Peace, Cartoon Movement, of the Federation of Cartoonists of FECO and of the Professional Association of Illustrators of Madrid APIM. He currently resides in Colombia. Due to the sanitary measures imposed in Belgium, due to the coronavirus, and the confinement of those who arrive in the country, Elena will not be able to attend the opening of her expo, but will visit the ECC at another time. She has gladly agreed to speak for MUNDIARIO readers.

Equilibrist. / Elena Ospina 

- How do you value this expo of yours at the ECC, the first by a Latin American female cartoonist at that center?

“It is a great joy to exhibit at the European Cartoon Center in Belgium, a country that has a long tradition in comics and humor, so as a Colombian I feel very honored by this invitation to show my work in this place dedicated to the dissemination of graphic humor. in Europe".

- Why do you like to do cartoons? How long have you been in this activity?

“Cartoon is the fun way to express opinions and communicate, that's why I like it. When I illustrate textbooks I also try to make them have humor ”.

"I've been publishing professionally since the early 90's, I was lucky enough to get to work in a newspaper and that was a great school, like a second university." 

- What are your main motivations when drawing?

“My main motivation is to communicate an idea and generate a personal dialogue or with the reader around each image. I think we draw to "rethink".

“I try by means of synthesis to tell as many things as possible, to reflect our inconsistencies and those of our society or simply to play with the absurd. It's a job that I really enjoy ”.

-  Does the Colombian press dedicate the space it deserves to graphic humor?

“There is not enough space, neither in the media nor on the pages. All of us who publish in the press feel that the text is given priority ”. 

"Cartoons and illustrations contribute a lot to a publication, not only on an aesthetic level, they also tell other stories that the text does not address, it is another metalanguage."

Oscar Wilde. / Elena Ospina

- How do you assess the current political and social crisis in Colombia, the popular protests and the police repression unleashed by the government of Iván Duque?

"I value the political awakening of society and I hope that these protests are not in vain and bring changes."

“This is something unprecedented in our country, never before were there massive marches that lasted more than a month and also in the middle of a pandemic. There is a very complex crisis and a government that does not listen, closes in on dialogue and its only option is force. I am very concerned about the violation of Human Rights by the forces of the State… It is very serious, inadmissible in a democracy ”. @worldly



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