Steve Bell at work during a Labour Party Conference in 2016 Photo: Rwendland
Leading political cartoonist Steve Bell, who often draws on art historical references in his biting caricatures, is leaving the Guardian after nearly 40 years. Bell joined the UK newspaper in 1981; his contract will not be renewed when it expires next year after the Guardian recently announced plans to cut 180 jobs in the wake of the coronavirus crisis (its representatives declined to comment further on Bells position).
“I worked with Steve Bell when I was at the Guardian. He was and is an evil genius. Anyone who thinks its a good idea to get rid of Steve Bell is a pitiful thinker,” tweeted the Sunday Times art critic Waldemar Januszczak.
I worked with Steve Bell when I was at The Guardian. He was and is an evil genius. Anyone who thinks its a good idea to get rid of Steve Bell is a pitiful thinker. Pitiful. https://t.co/pxtKlGhij5
— WALDEMAR JANUSZCZAK (@JANUSZCZAK) July 17, 2020
But his cartoons have also proved controversial. He was recently accused of racism for depicting the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel as a bull and also denied using anti-semitic tropes in a cartoon published June 2018 which showed the late Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar burning. “Contract ending has everything to do with budget cuts and nothing to do with Priti Effing Patel!” said a tweet from Bells official Twitter feed @BellBelltoons.
Contract ending has everything to do with budget cuts and nothing to do with Priti Effing Patel!
— Steve Bell (@BellBelltoons) July 17, 2020
Bell, who graduated in fine art from Leeds University in 1974, often draws on his knowledge of art history. In May, he highlighted the Covid-19 crisis engulfing care homes in the UK, resulting in more than 20,000 deaths, by creating a cartoon showing an isolated fortress-style building in the middle of the ocean. A deathly figure reminiscent of Charon, the mythological ferryman of the dead, carries the coronavirus in his boat.
The work is based on Swiss painter Arnold Bocklins 1883 work The Isle of the Dead. One contributor on the Guardian website pointed out that the cartoon was “a searing comment on this government's manifest dereliction of duty”.
Last July, Bell presented the newly appointed Read More – Source