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Starts With A Bang

Weekend Diversion: Cartoons for Social Justice

How one Polish cartoonist uses his medium and the power of satire to raise awareness of injustice in the world.

Image credit: Useful by Pawel Kuczynski;

“Everybody wants peace. That’s a truism. There is no point in accomplishing through war what you can accomplish through peace.” –Norman Finkelstein

It’s one thing to notice something about the world you don’t like, but it’s quite another to make a statement the injustice that makes others stop and listen to what you’ve got to say. At least to me, the philosopher, the scientist, the economist and the politician all take a back seat to the artist on this front, where one single drawing can say more than all the speeches and screeds put together can. Have a listen to KT Tunstall sing her unique song, Change,

while I share with you the thought-provoking art of Pawel Kuczynski.

Image credit: Pawel Kuczynski.

As the start of August marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Warsaw uprising, one of the bravest acts during one of the darkest times in recent human history, I thought it would be only fitting to highlight one of Poland’s national treasures, whose art resonates about the state of our existence in these modern times regardless of whether you understand a single word of English (or Polish) or not.

Image credit: Pawel Kuczynski.

His drawings are often either untitled or very simply titled, such as Disable, below, which speaks volumes about a couple of different social issues facing our world.

Image credit: Pawel Kuczynski, via

His art touches on social issues like economic inequality and the huge differences in standard-of-living between the rich and poor worldwide,

Image credit: Pawel Kuczynski.

war profiteering,

Image credit: Pawel Kuczynski.


Image credit: Pawel Kuczynski.

and — when it comes to something like the internet — the simultaneous feelings of isolation, self-loathing and the desire for connection.

Images credit: Pawel Kuczynski.

It’s amazing how a single image can say so much about a topic, but you tell me what’s more effective at raising awareness and communicating the universality of a problem: a diatribe, like one I wrote, against sexism in the workplace, or the image below, simply titled office?

Image credit: Pawel Kuczynski, via

Regardless of your political affiliation or where you come down on many issues, these images, if nothing else, will make you think about some of the interesting juxtapositions in this world.

Image credit: Pawel Kuczynski, via

If you’re interested in all of Pawel’s work, check out his collections (with prints for sale) over at Pictorem, and his personal website here. Thanks also to inspireamaze for bringing this fantastic artist onto my radar. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you back for more wonders of the Universe next week!

Weigh in at the Starts With A Bang forum on Scienceblogs, and if you missed our comments of the week, be sure and check those out, too!


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