Cancel culture cartoon

Woke

A cartoon about cancel culture and historical thought crimes.

This cartoon is about the current (2020) phenomenon of cancel culture. This is the concept by which a person is ostracized or shunned if they are judged to hold unapproved views or have attitudes that run counter to those of the arbiters of what are acceptable views. It is a subsection of woke culture.

Cancel culture is responsible for such phenomena as no platforming, where people with proscribed views are denied the ability to put their views forward for debate, particularly in universities.
It is often applied to people based on attitudes that they held in the past. By this criterium practically everyone on the planet should be cancelled, which is one of the points of this cartoon. The saying “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” comes to mind.
Cancel culture is often applied to historical figures from several centuries ago, particularly (at the moment) to those involved in some way in the transatlantic slave trade, and is manifested in the current campaigns to remove statues.
Cancel culture can be viewed as having a stifling effect on culture and debate, with its, to me, zealously censorious woke attitudes and its Orwellian implications.

Drawn: 7th July 2020

Cartoon reference: a815
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Pantomime caricaturing of race and gender in popular culture

Racist & sexist demeaning caricatures cartoon

A cartoon about racist & sexist demeaning caricatures.

This cartoon is about changing attitudes to race and gender in popular culture.
The cartoon shows someone watching the tv programme The Black and White Minstrel Show in 1975, and someone else watching RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2020.
The cartoon draws attention to the jolly, pantomime portrayal of black men in the first show and of women in the second, and tries to make the point that while the cartoonish portrayal of black men in black face is now deemed unacceptable, the caricaturing of women as over-sexualised grotesques is currently promoted in some parts of society as celebratory and ‘fun’.

The Black and White Minstrel Show was an extremely popular programme in the 1960s. I was a child at the time, and even I liked it, despite the fact that I was of an the age at which Top of the Pops was essential viewing. It was considered to be harmless family entertainment. The show was on the tv during a time of rapid social change, including a large increase in the black population of some parts of Britain, so by the mid 1970s the show was viewed in a different light and was finally discontinued because of its outdated attitudes.

RuPaul’s Drag Race is a contemporary (2020) manifestation of part of lgbtq culture.

Drawn: 6th July 2020

Cartoon reference: a814
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Erasing the offensive past, followed by erasing the offensive present.

Erase the attitudes of the past cartoon

A cartoon about erasing the past because of its flaws, then erasing the present because of its flaws.

This cartoon is about the current trend (2020) for some groups to want to erase evidence of the parts of the past that they find offensive. This is manifested in the pulling down of statues of people who had links to the slave trade.
The point of the cartoon is that I think that such attitudes and approaches are misguided, as they require a (selective) moral purity that is impossible in a complex world full of complex people. The wish to erase the moral imperfections of the past would lead to the wish to erase the moral imperfections of the present, and in an imperfect world full of imperfect people the consequences of that could be a form of repression not dissimilar to some of the religious and political repressions of the past. Bear in mind that people are still capable of creating repressive societies in the misguided belief that they are doing a good thing – people don’t change, just their situation.
The imagery in the cartoon is based on the Bonfire of the Vanities – the burning of objects that the church considered sinful, such as books, art and mirrors which happened in Florence, Italy in 1497. It also relates to book burning by the nazis in Germany and the destruction of degenerate or subversive objects in other states ranging from communist regimes to the Taliban.

Drawn: 3rd July 2020
Cartoon reference: a813
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Boris Johnson losing control

Boris Johnson control government cliff edge cartoon

Cartoon showing Boris Johnson losing control of the country and the government

Prime Minister Boris Johnson sitting in a go-cart hurtling over the edge of a cliff.
Johnson is holding a steering wheel as though he is steering the cart, but the steering wheel isn’t attached.
He is sounding very optimistic and up-beat all the same. Delusional optimism.
The cartoon plays on Boris Johnson’s jokey, boyish, playful personna.

Original (Brexit) version drawn: March 2017
This version drawn: 2nd July 2020
Cartoon reference: a812
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Leicester lockdown and pubs reopening cartoon

Leicester lockdown cartoon

Leicester lockdown and pubs reopening cartoon

A cartoon about the fact that pubs are about to reopen in England next weekend as the coronavirus lockdown is eased, just as the city of Leicester is put back into a higher state of lockdown (with no pubs allowed to open).
The possibility of young people leaving Leicester and getting very drunk in pubs outside the lockdown zone seems very likely to me. They will have to drive out of Leicester, and then return in a state of intoxication. A very worrying prospect.

Drawn: 1st July 2020
Cartoon reference: a811
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Cartoon about obsessive photo and selfie taking

obsessive photo and selfie taking cartoon

Cartoon about obsessive photo and selfie taking

This cartoon is a comment on the culture of constantly taking photographs and selfies, especially when on holiday or vacation.
The photos are taken as a way to record the event, but in fact they often get in the way of the event, stopping the person engaging with it in a meaningful way.
The concept behind the cartoon is that the obsessive taking of photos actually hinders the experience.
A cartoon about holidays, vacations, experiences, photography, selfies, Instagram generation, social media, smartphones, engaging.

Drawn: June 2020
Cartoon reference: a810
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Describing visual art in words

Cartoon about the problem of trying to describe visual art in words

Cartoon about the problem of trying to describe visual art in words.

A cartoon about the way that words obscure as much as enlighten.

Original version drawn: 2007
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art006
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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The danger of declining to take a knee – cartoon

Take a knee cartoon

A cartoon about the possible danger of refusing to take a knee

Taking a knee is a gesture of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Some people, while sympathetic to the cause of tackling racism, feel that they wouldn’t want to take a knee themselves, either because they don’t agree with all of the aims of BLM or because they feel uncomfortable with there being any obligation to enact the gesture, especially because they feel that the gesture contains some elements of supplication (or that if it doesn’t actually contain those elements now, it may well evolve so that it does in the future). Supplication implies adherence to the cause or a pledge of allegiance rather than simple recognition of it or solidarity with it.
The British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, today (18th June 2020) expressed opinions along these lines, stating that he thought the act contained elements of submission. He has been criticised quite widely for this attitude.
The cartoon shows someone being hit in the face by a custard pie, a metaphor for being ridiculed or humiliated.

Drawn: 18th June 2020
Cartoon reference: a809
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The campaign for the removal of controversial statues – cartoon

Taliban guide to statue destruction cartoon

A cartoon about the campaigns to remove statues of controversial figures (which I call the Down with Statues campaign).

The cartoon is a comment on the righteous zeal of the protesters who are demanding that statues of controversial figures, especially (or maybe exclusively?) those with links to the slave trade, colonialism and imperialism, be removed from public spaces because the statues are judged to be offensive.
The cartoon questions the implications of an excess of righteous zeal, as it can be used to justify extreme acts and extremism in general.
The cartoon draws attention to the destruction of the Buddhas of Banyam by the Taliban in 2001 and the destruction of artefacts in Iraqi museums by ISIS in 2003, both acts that were motivated at least partly by righteous zeal aimed at objects that the perpetrators deemed offensive. Parallels can also be made with other iconoclastic movements.
A cartoon about intolerance, self-righteousness, iconoclasm,

Drawn:18th June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a808
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Offensive and approved terms in politically correct and woke language – cartoon

politically correct and woke culture cartoon

A cartoon about the concept that the use of any term that is not politically correct or woke-approved to define race or gender is offensive.

This cartoon is about the tendency within woke culture for the use of unapproved terms to describe people, especially in the spheres of race and gender politics, to be viewed as offensive and open to condemnation, even if used innocently.
The terms that are approved and disapproved sometimes change quite regularly, so it can be hard to keep up.
Notice that I’m not giving any examples of approved or disapproved terms here, in case I inadvertently get it wrong. Also, as the cartoon states, to merely mention a disapproved term as an example is viewed as offensive itself.
At the time of drawing this cartoon the tendency to police language for political purity seems to be on the rise, however it’s been there for as long as I remember. In fact I drew my first cartoon about it in the 1980s.
A cartoon about woke language, political correctness, linguistic purity, Orwellian language, political purity.

Drawn:16th June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a807
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Judging historical figures by contemporary standards

statue toppling cartoon

A cartoon about toppling statues.

This cartoon is about the judging of historical figures by modern standards of ethics and morality.
The cartoon was drawn during a campaign of statue toppling in 2020 that started with the toppling of a statue of Edward Colston in Bristol. Colston made money in the slave trade. His statue was erected to celebrate his later philanthropic donations.
The cartoon attempts to illustrate the problem of judging historical figures by the moral and ethical standards of today by showing the absurd (and hopefully comic) situation of a statue being toppled because the person represented by the statue was not a vegan. Veganism is generally speaking a very modern lifestyle choice that would be unknown to historical figures.
It is also about the phenomenon of people sometimes committing disproportionately excessive acts if they hold their views with a high degree of righteous zeal.
It is also about mission creep – the current campaigns about statue toppling began with racism but may extend to other areas.

Drawn:11th June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a806
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Edward Colston statue cartoon

Colston statue cartoon

A cartoon about the irony that Edward Colston’s money was used to benefit worthwhile institutions in Bristol (and London).

This cartoon is about the complex and messy nature of financial and social endeavour, and the complex and messy nature of people.
It is about the broader issue of how money is generated to finance society in general, especially its more worthy aspects.
This is not a cartoon defending the statue of Colston (as I’m generally against the concept of statues of prominent people anyway, although I wouldn’t get rid of the either).

Drawn:8th June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a804
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Coronavirus rules on the number of people attending different events

coronavirus covid-19 lockdown rules for funerals and demonstrations cartoon

Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown rules cartoon regarding funerals and political demonstrations.

A cartoon pointing out the problem that thousands of people were allowed to gather for political protests over the weekend with only mild criticism over the fact that it broke the coronavirus lockdown rules (justifiably or not, depending on your viewpoint), while the rules state that, for instance, only ten people can gather for a funeral.
I’m sure that in the near future funeral-goers will ignore the lockdown rules and will attend in larger numbers on the grounds that their reason for attending is justifiable.

Drawn: June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a803
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Coronavirus cartoon – lockdown breaking political demonstrations and Dominic Cummings

coronavirus covid-19 lockdown breaking demonstration Dominic Cummings cartoon

Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown breaking cartoon.

Last week Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s adviser, was in hot water because he chose to defy the lockdown rules relating to cover-19.
This week thousands of demonstrators chose to defy the lockdown too.
Does that take the pressure off Cummings, as the demonstrators are potentially much more likely to spread the coronavirus, yet they haven’t come in for the same criticism (justifiably or not, depending on your point of view).

Drawn: June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a802
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Covid 19 coronavirus – the dilemma concerning social distancing and political demonstrations

coronavirus covid-19 black lives matter demonstration cartoon

Covid-19 coronavirus, social distancing and political demonstrations.

A cartoon about the tension between the need for social distancing and the right to attend political demonstrations – as highlighted by the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations linked to the death of George Floyd.
The dilemma is not linked to the cause advocated by the demonstrations, and would apply no matter what the cause.

Drawn: June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a801
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Christo obituary cartoon

Christo

Cartoon about the artist Christo

An obituary cartoon about Christo Javacheff, who died on 31st May 2020.
The cartoon shows a young Christo wrapping sweets.

The caption of the cartoon is : Famous Artists in Their Student Days: Christo’s Holiday Job
Drawn: 1st June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a779
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A cartoon about the gender pay gap as it applies to trans people

gender reassignment and pay gap cartoon

Cartoon about the gender pay gap and transgender people

The cartoon shows a person who’s undergone gender reassignment from male to female being given a pay cut in alignment with their new status as female.

A cartoon about salary and wage differentials and the gender pay gap applied to trans people.
Drawn: Jan 2018
Cartoon reference number: a777
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Fire prevention equipment factory on fire – cartoon about irony

ironic fire in sprinkler factory cartoon

Cartoon of a sprinkler factory on fire

The cartoon shows an ironic situation in which a factory that manufactures fire prevention equipment is on fire.

I think that this cartoon was probably inspired by the observation that many fires in buildings are caused when the building is being renovated.
A cartoon about irony and health and safety (amongst other things).
Drawn: June 2018
Cartoon reference number: a776
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Remembrance bench cartoon

in memory of ... who loved this spot cartoon

Cartoon showing a bench with remembrance plate on it.

The plaque on the bench reads “In memory of Bob who loved this spot.”

The bench is situated in a landscape that is composed exclusively of dots.
The dots in the cartoon remind me of the art created by Yayoi Kusama.
Cartoon reference number: a774
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Cartoon about plastic pollution

plastic pollution cartoon

Plastic pollution cartoon.

The cartoon cliche of a desert island used to make a point about the pollution caused by plastic.

A person on a desert island throwing a message in a plastic bottle into the sea.
Cartoon reference number: a764b

There’s a colour version of this cartoon here.

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Plastic pollution cartoon

plastic pollution desert island cartoon

Desert island plastic pollution cartoon.

A cartoon that uses the cartoon cliche of a desert island to make a point about the pollution caused by plastic.

The cartoon shows a person on a desert island throwing a message in a bottle into the sea.
Cartoon reference number: a764

There’s a black and white version of this cartoon here.

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Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown enforcement cartoon

coronavirus covid-19 lockdown enforcement cartoon

Covid-19 coronavirus cartoon – enforcing the lockdown.

As part of the coronavirus lockdown people are allowed outside only for limited reasons, one being taking exercise.
In city parks the police have been moving people on who they see sitting on park benches, as this is not exercise.

A cartoon about policing the lockdown, social isolating.
Drawn: April 2020
Cartoon reference number: a772
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Coronavirus cartoon – myths about how covid-19 started

coronavirus myth cartoon

Covid-19 coronavirus cartoon – a myth about how it started.

A cartoon about the myth that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic started because the virus was released from a lab in China.

The person in the cartoon is saying “Here’s a REALLY worrying virus-myth statistic – an incredible 75% of the population don’t believe it started in a lab!”
The point of the cartoon is that people who believe that the virus started in a lab are just as certain that they are right as the people who believe that it wasn’t. The believers in the theory think that they are clear-sighted enough to see round the official obfuscation about the matter.
A cartoon about conspiracy theories, gullibility, psychological delusion.
Drawn: April 2020
Cartoon reference number: a773

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Electric powered cars cartoon

electric car cartoon

Electric cars cartoon
Sustainable energy cartoon

A cartoon showing electrically powered cars filling with fuel at a filling station. Instead of filling at petrol pumps they are filling at a small electricity pylon

Although this cartoon doesn’t make a comment on the use of electricity to power vehicles, I suspect that it won’t turn out to be as sustainable as its advocates claim.
A cartoon about the environment, ecology, transport systems, hybrid cars, oil-free economy, battery power, fossil fuel dependency, power supply, energy sources.

Drawn: 2011

Cartoon reference number: env061

You can find a colour version of this cartoon here.

Are biofuels sustainable?

Unsustainable biofuel cartoon

A cartoon about unsustainable biofuel use.

The cartoon shows a car driving through a huge biofuel plantation. The driver of the car is saying that the plantation is so large that the nearest filling station is an hour away at the other side.

How much land is needed to grow biofuels?
A cartoon about unsustainable energy, environmental impact, biodiesel, unsustainable and sustainable land use, energy consumption, transport, petrol, oil and gas substitutes.

Drawn: 2009

Cartoon reference number: env053c
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Our course into the future?

Environmental cartoon: The human race  driving itself over the precipice

A cartoon about the course that the human race is possibly taking.

A possible problem with progress – cartoon

The human race ignoring the warning signs and recklessly carrying on along the same road – resulting in it driving itself over the precipice and into the abyss.
The cartoon uses a car to denote the human race, the metaphor applies to other areas of human endeavour other than transport.

Cartoon reference number: env051b
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The destructive impact of tourism

Destructive impact of tourism cartoon

A cartoon highlighting a problem with mass tourism – the destruction or degradation of the tourist destination due to the impact of the tourists themselves.

Here the tourist destination is a world heritage site – exactly the sort of place that is degraded by insensitive of excessive tourism.

Mass tourism, tourist, holidays, holiday destinations.
Original version drawn: 1990
Cartoon reference number: env123
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Cartoon about the fallacy of progress

transport cartoon - traffic gridlock

Environment cartoon about transport systems
Philosophy cartoon about the fallacy of progress

A cartoon about progress, in which the progress (represented here by road transport) creates its own problems.
Is progress a good thing?

Cars at a standstill, gridlocked in a traffic jam symbolising progress (or the lack of it) in transport planning and the excessive use of cars as personal transport.
Also a cartoon about the philosophical question of whether progress is necessarily automatically a good thing.

Created: 2015.
Original version (with older vehicles) created: 1991

Cartoon reference number: env050b
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Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic face mask cartoon

coronavirus cartoon

Covid-19 coronavirus cartoon.

The cartoon showing a person wearing a face mask because of the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic.

The face mask displays the slogan “Keep Calm and Carry on”.
The cartoon is intended to be a positive cartoon about how to deal with the psychological consequences of the pandemic.
Drawn: 6 March 2020
Cartoon reference number: a771

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Happy New Year 2020

Happy New Year 2020 father time tripping

Happy New Year 2020 cartoon.

The cartoon shows the old year 2019 (Father Time) pushing the baby New Year 2020 in a baby buggy. Father Time is tripping over the base of a Happy New Year sign, sending the new year rushing forwards out of control towards a cliff edge.

Cartoon reference number: a770

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Taking photos in art galleries

Photography in art galleries cartoon

Cartoon about taking photos in art galleries

A cartoon showing the visitors to an art gallery all taking photographs of the art with their phones.

Original version drawn: 2018
This version drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art003
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Art that children like – cartoon

Contemporary art and art for children cartoon

A cartoon about art that children like – such as paintings of ponies.

The cartoon shows a young girl visiting an art gallery and asking if there are any paintings of ponies.
The art gallery is a gallery of contemporary art, and thus contains little or no work that would appeal to children.

The cartoon is partly about the different purposes of art and the different audiences for art.

Cartoon drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art019
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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The emperor’s new clothes – contemporary art cartoon

Contemporary art - emperor's new clothes cartoon

The emperor’s new clothes – contemporary art cartoon.

The cartoon shows visitors to an art gallery admiring a contemporary work of ark that features a blank canvas.
The artwork is called the Emperor’s new clothes.
The visitors are admiring the detail in the work (even though there’s nothing there).

The cartoon is a comment on the way that people sometimes put on a front to appear to understand concepts and ideas in order to avoid being thought of as stupid or out of touch.

Original version drawn: 2006
This version drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art018
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Salvador Dali surreal lobster telephone cartoon

Salvador Dali surreal lobster telephone cartoon

Surrealism cartoon – Salvador Dali lobster telephone and shrimp cell phone

Cartoon showing Salvador Dali’s surrealist telephone, along with a mobile phone that he may have imagined if they had existed then.

Original cartoon drawn: 2010
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art013
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Profound art and banal art – cartoon

Profound art and banal art – cartoon

Profound art and banal art – cartoon

Cartoon showing a painting of a vase of flowers (banal art) and a painting of a vase of dead flowers (profound art).

The painting of the dead flowers is judged as being profound because it alludes to death.
Original cartoon drawn: 2010
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art012
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Artist’s self-portrait cartoon

Artist's self-portrait cartoon

Artist’s self-portrait cartoon

Cartoon showing an artist’s final self-portrait.

The self-portrait is the artist’s cremated ashes.
Cartoon drawn: 2018
Cartoon reference number: art011
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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An artist’s vision cartoon

Artist painting the moon cartoon

Cartoon about artistic vision

A cartoon showing an artist creating a painting of something that is not actually visible with the unaided eye.

The cartoon shows one artist painting a landscape while another artist does a painting of the moon, which is a tiny detail in the landscape.
A cartoon about art, the moon, eyesight, vision, insight.
Original version drawn: 1998
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art009
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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The etiquette of using a mobile phone in an art gallery

The etiquette of using a cell phone in an art gallery cartoon

A cartoon about the etiquette of using a cell phone in an art gallery.

The cartoon shows a visitor to an art gallery talking on a mobile phone in the gallery.

The cartoon is about the tensions that can occur in public spaces concerning the inconsiderate use of mobile phones, especially if the user speaks in a load voice and seems oblivious to their surroundings.
Art galleries are usually quiet spaces (although there are some schools of thought that think that they should be more lively (and therefore more accessible to people who feel intimidated by the reverence normally afforded to art).
The other visitors to the gallery are looking very disapproving.

Cartoon drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art015
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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