If you’re in need of some “zen and relaxation”then have you ended up in the right place! For this week’s English assignment I had to explore the depths of cartoonist Gavin Aung Than’s work. I found a cartoon that really “spoke” to me, so I’ll be sharing it today.
The piece I want to share with you is #143 and is titled “The Dalai Lama: We are all human beings. You can find the link here.
Here are a couple of screen shots to give you a feel for his style: (this isn’t the whole comic, in an effort to go get you to actually look at it)
After reading through quite a few of Than’s comics, I actually din’t really care for some of them. But when I found this one, I loved it. It shows the relationship of a monk and guardian, as they have a misunderstanding. In the cartoon the monk focuses on meditation; the guardian, protecting the watch tower. The monk doesn’t realize this is a guarded area, and enters unknowingly to meditate. The guarding then begins to wreck the tower in an effort to capture the monk, and keep him away from the precious golden buddha. In the process, the guardian looses the sacred statue. The monk, a kind, peaceful, figure — did not hesitate to help the guardian search for the statue even after being attacked. The monk successfully unites the guardian with the statue, and the cartoon ends with the two rebuilding the watch tower together.
One major idea that was presented in this cartoon and even blatantly stated in the title of the cartoon is that we are all human beings. The relationship portrayed between the monk and the guardian is much like the misunderstanding between various races in the United States right now. I found that Than’s comic really delivered a message rather than the usual chuckle or smile that accompanies most silly cartoons. Using his power of a combination of both art and word, Than really does bring the issue of disconnect in America to light, even if it isn’t explicitly stated. Because of the recent racial tension in America, (the growing Islamaphobia and unjustified shootings of unarmed African Americans), I think we can all stand to hear “we are all human beings” more frequently.
I definitely want to encourage you to go check out his work. Thaun has a variety of pieces, ranging from funnier to more serious comics.
Remember: We are all human beings.
Until next time,