Sketching the crisis

Greek and Italian cartoonists about the crisis of democracy, together in an exhibition in Athens.

On a rainy Saturday morning, three unwary volunteers from Thessaloniki found themselves in Athens, willing to discover the beauties of the Hellenic Capital. But they hadn’t considered the stubborn rain that was also visiting the city that day. Jumping from pool to pool and sharing a broken umbrella while walking around ruins and buildings wasn’t exactly what they were looking for, but this is how a happy discovery started.

Poster for Democrisis , a cartoon exhibition with works from Italian and Greek cartoonists

The three brave volunteers decided to take the metro then, and found a pleasant surprise waiting for them at the Syntagma station: the exhibition “DEMOcrisis – Democracy in crisis“, organized by the Greek Cartoonists Association and open to the public from 1st to 7th of April.

It’s said that in a Democracy there are no deadlocks. But is this really the case? This year, 32 Greek cartoonists talk about Democracy. Draw about it. Explore it further. Push it to its limits some times, yes. Not as a vague and general idea but as a self-evident political system that is both desirable and fragile yet at the same time incredibly durable. Greek cartoonists draw Democracy as an answer sometimes using their darkest of colours. The exhibition is taking place just a few meters away from the roots of Acropolis. Quite symbolic since the term “democracy” first appeared in ancient Greek political and philosophical thought in the city-state of Athens.

From the presentation of the event.


Around the wide hall, dozens of cartoons and comic strips following one another. They conveyed the thoughts of the artists about the social and political climate. Not only Greek artists were part of the exhibition. This years, the organisers thought of a collaboration with Italian cartoonist.

In the context of promoting debate and exchange of ideas, 10 great Italian cartoonists were invited to join the exhibition. […] Editorial cartoon in particular has been instrumental in monitoring and impacting the social and political lives of those in positions of power and influence and Italians have a way back tradition in doing so!

From the presentation of the event

The mood of the strips was bittersweet, as the ironic lens of the cartoon revealed the dark side of reality. The witty voice of satire opens to consider the social role of art. The three enthusiastic volunteers left the venue thankful and thoughtful.


Article by Arianna Salan
Pictures by Martin Naništa

Post Author: Arianna Salan

Arianna Salan
I’m 28 years old and I don’t know what I’ll be when I grow up. I like to listen to people’s stories and to write about migrations, social justice, and sustainability. I’m Italian but I feel home in many places!

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