Let’s look at the global issues through caricatures! Political cartoons of the award-winning Bulgaria-born Turkish artist Aytos have made this year. His witty satire is also reflected in COVID and social illustrations.

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At the moment, Gabrovo Museum of Humour and Satire displays over 300 clever illustrations of the best world cartoonists, the finalists of the 45th National Exhibition of Cartoons, the Women Cartoonists International Award 2019 and Czech caricaturists. Most are available online.

For the last 100 years, Gabrovo, the home town of the legendary artist Christo, has considered the Bulgarian capital of humour and the industrial centre. Gabrovians like mocking their entrepreneurial traits and most jokes cover up greediness.

The main city symbol is a black cat with a cut-off tail that one can see everywhere in the city. According to the famous joke, to save the heat, Gabrovians closed the door so quickly that cut a piece of the cat’s tail.

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The House of Humour and Satire in Gabrovo is a museum of contemporary art with a specialization on humour artefacts. For about 50 years, it has collected about 35000 artefacts from all over the world (cartoons, statues, books, etc.).

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I visited the museum in November when it was still open. Now you can see collections online through their Facebook and the website. Amateur cartoonists can find information about cartoon contests globally.

Cartoon Salon 2020 is the most important this year exhibition. It hosts the 45th National Exhibition of Cartoons with 145 works by 38 authors (Velin Andreev, Fiko Fikov, Svetlyn Stefanov, Maya Cholakova, Milko Dikov, etc.). Most of them are devoted to political and pandemic themes.

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The first exhibition that visitors see at the museum is the Garden of Eden, eight tapestries, by Boris Dimovski (1925-2007), the iconic Bulgarian illustrator who frequently exhibited his works abroad (Canada, Belgium, Italy the former Yugoslavia).

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Guests exhibitions at the museum are topical displays that reflect views on global social matters in other countries. The Women Cartoonists by finalists of the Women Cartoonists International Award 2019 exhibition tackles the question of gender equality and promotes female self-expression.

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The exhibition Meanwhile Elsewhere is devoted to the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia (1918). Many works show the cultural transitions of society with all their controversies and doubts. The history of the Czech comics began at the dawn of Czechoslovakia.

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Another not-to-be-missed collection is a hall with gigantic puppets for the famous Gabrovo Carnival that every May gathers thousands of Bulgarian and international spectators. The enormous black cat is the most important artefact of among dozens of participants of the carnival.

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