Cartooning for Justice Workshop

A cartoon has incredible communicative power. It is a medium of social awareness that can be used to encourage change, spark debates, express anxiety, and inspire hope. This is why Civitas Maxima has a cartooning program, in collaboration with the Liberian Visual Arts Academy, and the Global Justice and Research Project: to encourage Liberian youth to explore their feelings, through the medium of art.

There has never been a project like this before here in Liberia. It is so important that Liberians take ownership of this project. What we are doing is good for the kids. 

Leslie Lumeh
Executive Director of Liberian Visual Arts Academy

Cartooning for Justice Workshop

The first workshop was launched in 2018, and 30 art students attended. “Should wartime crimes be punished in Liberia today?” was the question tackled by the students that during four full days learned classic storytelling techniques and cartooning skills. Through group discussions, we freely encouraged them to debate existing justice measures, reflect upon their conceptions of justice, and the need for war crimes accountability. These focused discussions were dedicated to theoretical foundations and justification for punishment, including theories of consequentialism, retributivism, and restorative justice. Additionally, the students discussed how these theories might be applied within the context of post-conflict Liberia. The lessons, drawing exercises, and discussions all contributed to the larger goal of having the students engage in debates on justice and accountability in Liberia for its 14 years of civil war (1989-2003).

 

Cartooning for Justice” was initially funded by the Kathryn W. Davis Peace Foundation grant, which was generously donated by Felix Lüth and Livio Silvia-Müller, students of the Graduate Institute of Geneva. Swiss-Congolese cartoonist, JP Kalonji, also contributed to the program.

I think cartoons can help the situation of justice in Liberia by moving fear [from victim to perpetrator]

Workshop Student

In the Press

Essential to the overall goal of the project, we ensured some of the final cartoons produced by the students of the workshop were featured in a leading West African newspaper.

I think I can contribute to the debates on justice and accountability in Liberia by telling my stories and communicating other people’s stories.

Workshop Student

Cartooning for Justice Partners

The Cartooning for Justice Workshop is the product of collaboration between:

And others, such as Caran D'Ache and Stabilo are supporting our project.

*These drawings and photos were produced at a pre-workshop exercise.