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CAIB Concept Paper

Introduction and the Relevance of the Festival and Contest


Within the framework of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and in the context of the UNESCO Social and Human Sciences Sector (SHS) call for 10 innovative ideas in favour of Africa’s development within the new decade; the African Press Cartoon Syndication Company (APCSC) has collaboratively initiated the 1st Cartoon Africa International Biennial Festival/Contest” (CAIB) with the main theme: “United States Of Africa: Matters Arising”.

The adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is not far-fetched. In a world where communication has become inevitable for the advancement of democracy, human freedom and security, peaceful co-existence, cultural innovations and productivity in all spheres of human endeavours, it is not surprising that pictorial or visual communication is omnipresent in advanced countries of the world, fully deployed as veritable tools for communicating for change, for social reengineering, moral capital development, strategic frame-working, promotion of dialogue, productivity/technology development and socio-economic advancements.

A few examples of such global efforts in using cartoon events to shape public opinions, cross-breed creative ideas and imaginations, inspire inventions and drive industrial, architectural, technological developments, and more, include:

- the Annual World Press Cartoon Contest in Portugal
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the International Tourism Cartoon Competition in Turkey
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the International Graphic Humour Contest on Technologies by the Barakaldo Cultural Agency
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the Annual Tehran International l Cartoon Biennial in Iran
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the Cordoba International Cartoon Festival in Argentina
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the International Cartoon Awards in Australia
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the Brazilian International Graphic Humour & Comics Contest

…to mention just a few.

There is need for a better representation of African Comics and Cartoons at such international festivals. Many global organisers believe that African comics and cartoons have not been properly represented in their events for many years, mainly due to lack of promotion of African cartooning and comic arts. In all of Africa at large, there are hardly such regular platforms/rallying points for African cartoonists, comic artists and others in the genre to interact and explore the full potentials of cartoons, comics and visual literature/ pictorial communication generally.

There is a growing need to sustain sponsors and to promote creative education and pictorial communication through the cartoons and comic art genre to give many African businesses and corporate organizations opportunities to reach their less literate or unlettered target markets via a variety of visual communication and graphic humour strategies, to give development organizations new creative frontiers in reaching and benefiting their target audiences through the universal lingua franca, as well as to promote free press and social networking in Africa.

An African continent thriving economically with digital, web and mobile cartoons, comics, animations, and graphic humour is possible and inevitable, considering Africa’s place in global economy and socio-political renaissance.

Some Objectives and Expected Outcomes
 
The pilot edition of this novel biennial cartoons/comics fiesta/contest will proffera common ground/RALLYING POINT for creative dialogue - where the various problems, challenges, dreams and prospects of various African nationalities are reflected upon and shared by Africans alike and friends of Africa from other countries of the world, through the artistic prism of humour and satire gathered from the entries to the festival/contest , touring exhibitions, the cartoon workshop/conference and interactions enjoyed within the.
 
It will also result in artistic and cultural exchanges that boost tourism and diversity, financial benefits for many participants and knowledge/experiences sharing that explore possible new frontiers for African pictorial communication, using digital illustrations, web cartoons and mobile comics and other visual storytelling formats.
 
Materials/concepts generated from the one of the sub-themes of the biennial festival/contest:“Violence Against Women,” will be used in producing and distributing at least six editions (English and French versions) of the MEWOR/MAVAW comic book series, to regionally spread awareness on the African Union’s Protocol on women’s rights in Africa within the first two years of CAIB festival. 
 
In line with the UNESCO Priority Gender Equality Action Plan 2008-2013, and as a major factor in Africa’s development in the next ten years as envisioned by the UNESCO (SHS), gender-based violence and stereotyping, male chauvinism, gender inequality and discriminations will greatly wane especially among African youths-the prime targets of the comic series. The comics will be strategically used as IEC materials regionally by peer educators from partnering women groups and NGOs for the re-orientation and re-socialisation of African youths, (men and women) on gender matters addressed in the AU Protocol.
 
The festival will result in the building of a befitting, multi-purpose continental Cartoon/comic art museum/research center in Abuja, with state-of-the art facilities to host future cartoon/comics biennials, plus collections from all the CAIB festivals/contests and other collections by APCSC. The proposed museum will be of international standard with recreation centers, festival/exhibition halls, galleries, etc, to serve as a formidable destination point and reference point with multi-national, state of the art data base and repository/research center for trainings and activities consolidating on present efforts and birthing the future of African cartoon/comic art industry in the context of African development.
 
The festivals shall mitigate the dearth of female press cartoonists and comic artists in Nigeria and across Africa, and also groom future generations of talents in the art genre, via the Cartoon /comics camps, workshops and conference will mainly target encouraging  digital media arts and empowering more women and children to take to cartooning/comics creation as an effective means of self expression and information dissemination in a world where communication has become inevitable for human rights protection, crime prevention, social security and good self-esteem. 
 


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