Slideshow: The Cartoons of Atila Özer
“Atila Özer had a singular message of society, peace, and justice.”
On February 11th the work of Turkish cartoonist Atila Özer made its Pittsburgh debut at the Toonseum. Özer, born in 1949, left his job as an engineer to work as a cartoonist, both in Turkey and abroad, and won eleven international cartoon contests. He later founded the Anadolu University Cartoon Art Research Center and the World Cartoon Museums Union. Although Özer passed away in 2011, his legacy has been maintained through the Atila Özer Cartoon House, a space for cartoon students, scholars, and enthusiasts.
Joe Wos, the founder and curator of the Toonseum, was introduced to Özer’s work at the International Cartoon Museum Meeting in Belgium, where he met with representatives of the Atila Özer Cartoon House. Upon seeing Özer’s work, the curator realized that, “This work had never been seen in the United States” and decided to bring the Turkish artist’s work to Pittsburgh. When asked what made Özer’s work so unique, Wos said, “It was just his absolute dedication to having a very singular message of society, peace, and justice.” Through a collaboration with the Atila Özer Cartoon House and the American Middle East Institute, the Toonseum opened “Drawn to Peace: The Art of Atila Özer.”
Although Özer was never censored in Turkey, the country has become increasingly dangerous for cartoonists. In 2004, Musa Kart was sued by the Prime Minister of Turkey for a cartoon depicting the PM as a cat, and in 2011 the author of a graphic novel was facing charges for work that “insulted Ataturk.”
In the slideshow above, Özer’s clean, simple style is evident, as is his sense of humor and his aforementioned message of peace. These cartoons are courtesy of the Atila Özer Cartoon House.
All rights reserved by the Atila Özer Cartoon House.