English

American-Ukrainian Cartoonist Joseph Kogan

By: Azad Karimi

In my opinion, artificially established unions generally do not survive. Like people, countries that become deprived of their history, ethnic identity, culture, religion, laws, and even their currency, in essence, lose their independence. A time of their collapse will come.

 

Interview

American-Ukrainian Cartoonist Joseph Kogan

By Azad Karimi

 

Dear Joseph and I have one thing in common. We have migrated from our homeland to another country. He and I have gone beyond ideological governments to live in a free and democratic world.

Immigrating is hard work because you have to build everything.

Everything: Language, right of residence, home, income, regret, homesickness, nostalgia, and preserving the ideals and thoughts that you have preserved in tyranny and dictatorship and now in the new country you have to polish and express them. Of course, many do not tolerate and change direction and turn their ideals into personal goals. I do not want to condemn anyone, but I mean Joseph is someone who has kept his ideals and after 43 years he follows the same thoughts and expresses these issues and concerns with his method which is cartoon and caricature.

For me, this is the charm of Joseph ...

He immigrated when I was 4 years old. Thirty-six years later, I emigrated, and forty-three years after his emigration, I, as a journalist, and he, like a cartoonist, come together with the same concerns and ideas in an international cultural project , in an interview ... very interesting ...

We have our thoughts and we express with our tools the pains of human society from corona, nuclear and human catastrophes to migrations, attempting for the collapse of authoritarian political systems, the development of freedom, the spread of peaceful thoughts to create peace, freedom of expression, democracy, fighting to anti-Semitism, cultural mission, unity of human society efforts to promote freedom of expression and ....

At the beginning of these interviews eighteen months ago, I remember many who called themselves the Iranian opposition indirectly tried to stop me, to disappoint me by accusations of globalism and separatism because they argued that the global thinking of a Kurdish writer (Azad Karimi) like his nationalist idea is dangerous for the unity of Iran and other countries such as Turkey and he(Azad Karimi) also destroys the Pan-Islamism bases. I saw these efforts in the person of Rajab Tayeb Erdogan, as well as layers of the thoughts of the Muslim Brotherhood(Ikhwanalmuslemin)in the Iraqi Kurdish media. Of course, the distortion and falsification of my writings by someone like Mehdi Khaz’ali inside Iran and the abuse of my thoughts by Iranian regime were also part of these efforts.

Basically, I do not think about the destruction of Iran or any other country because I am basically a builder and creator and I love peace, but my expression destroys the interests of those who seek to destroy the culture and identity of the facts and trues in general and in the case of Kurdistan in particular. So my interviews with different people in the world worried these types of people. The important thing is that I dared to do great cultural work.

 The cultural unity I want is not to create a unit culture .... I love the world with its cultural diversity, but the focus of this cultural unity in my mind is humanity, not the phenomena associated with it. So: job, religion, skin color, language, and sexual identity are not my priority and of course, English was my language of expression because it is the official language of the United Nations Organization. This project was a miracle because I could quickly see its effects at the highest global levels. Please do not go into the details of this issue. The future illuminates many things. So I wish our world to be a more beautiful world in the future. To make my dream come true, Joseph and thousands of others migrated and suffered to maintain and develop their ideals.

I wish dear Joseph happiness and success with his beautiful family.

 

Thank you!

Østland-Norway

 

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1- Please present yourself (Name, education, Civil status and...)

. Hi Azad. My apologies for taking so long to get back to you. The following is my response to your questions:

I was born in the USSR, in beautiful Kyiv, Ukraine. I'm married and have two children and a grandson.

 

2- What is your artistic specialize?

.Originally, I was professionally trained as an industrial designer.

 

3- When and how did you become interested in this field of art?

.During my school years, I learned all forms of art but my first and only childhood love was cartooning.

 

4- Who was your motivator?

.My father always loved to read humorous and satirical magazines and he was the one that introduced me to what I found to be amusing drawings. I learned to enjoy cartooning from him.

 

5- What was your parent’s reaction?

.Of course, my father was very proud to see each one of the new publications.

 

6- When started you such as a professional artist-painter-Cartoonist?

.I started to publish my cartoons in local newspapers at the age of 16 and went on to have my work published in a major Ukrainian magazine, called “Perets” (Pepper).

 

7- Are you thankful and happy because of your activities as an artist?

.In 1979, in a quest for freedom, my family and I decided to leave the USSR, the most anti-Semitic country in the world. We fled from socialism and its totalitarian, communist ideas. It took quite some time to establish ourselves in the new land. Just to get by, my wife and I took on odd jobs that did not correspond with our prior experience or professions. We also focused on learning English. Emigration to the USA brought a number of great former Soviet journalists, writers, musicians, artists, and scientists. As a result, several newspapers were created for such new Americans as myself, and that is where I saw the opportunity to publish my political and humor-based cartoons. I found myself in a unique position as a cartoonist who had the experience of living in different political systems. I felt that my thoughts and knowledge should be reflected in my drawings. There were always numerous political events transpiring, which provided the inspiration for my cartoons. Some of the events that spanned my long, professional career included: Chernobyl; the disintegration of the Soviet Union’s empire; the formation of the EU.

 

8- How you see the view for art, painting, Cartoon and future of culture?

 .In my opinion, artificially established unions generally do not survive. Like people, countries that become deprived of their history, ethnic identity, culture, religion, laws, and even their currency, in essence, lose their independence. A time of their collapse will come.

 

9- Can you become one part of the artistic-cultural movement for motivation in youth or new generation in your country and so than?

.Other events that affected me included 9-11, the migration and diversification of populations across the globe, and the current COVID pandemic, which is an act of war against humanity. All of these remind me that far from everything is funny in this world.

Despite that, I’ve had to keep my satirical vision sharp in order to come up with fresh and new ideas to depict an ever-changing world. Like everything else in this world, cartooning has also evolved. Luckily for me, most of my cartoons were printed in traditional print media. One of these was Playboy Magazine, where I proudly shared the pages with some of the greatest cartoonists in the world. In today’s technologically advanced society, a new generation of artists have modern media and a new means of expression through software and social media that is available to them; all of which did not exist in the past. Despite these advances, their goals and roles have remained the same: to express their points of view, to be the first to react to trends and to current events, as well as to fight for the future of our planet. To take on such a large mission, cartoonists simply require a desk, a piece of paper, a pen or preferred media, and a computer. Cartooning is one of the most versatile visual art forms. It’s very expressive and can be used to communicate ideas through illustrations, posters, paintings, advertising, in slogans, as well as to support journalistic opinion pieces.

For cartoons to be effective, artists must have the Freedom to openly communicate with the world beyond borders.

 

10- How can you help our world become a better place to live?

.In addition, cartoonists have to be honest in their depictions in order to reflect the relationship between humanity and society. In order to fulfill their most important mission, cartoonists should bring humor they see into people’s lives through their renderings. This is not to just make others laugh, but to also help bridge the divide and bring people together onto common ground.

 

11- Have you more word to say or suggestion for our readers?

.As part of this, it’s important to unify people in joy and laughter; much like the humor and pleasure that my father derived from the cartoons that he taught me to love in childhood.