Jerome Zonder’s drawings are violent and grotesque cartoons that use children to emphasize the barbaric cruelty that proliferates throughout society, a cruelty that we are inured too.
Sadism and abuse are prevalent everywhere and in these pictures Zonder transplants societal violence into innocent childhood games, the kids engaged in adult scenes of wanton cruelty, the narrative rooted in a dictatorship reminiscent of Lord Of The Flies, a cycle of viciousness that heightens our awareness of the everyday banality of evil.
In an age of 24/7 media coverage of destruction, war, intolerance, sexual abuse and slavery we are too often numbed, immune to the suffering of others however in these simple pencil drawings we are confronted with the grotesque reality, a caricature that resonates deeply and demands we pay attention, take notice of the horrors that go on around us.
These are brave drawings and while they could be construed as controversial – as they employ the innocent to tell us a story we already know but choose to ignore – that is to miss the point, to ignore their purpose, their message. Zonder has deliberately taken iconographic symbols from the Nazis, childhood and cartoons and subverted them to create a narrative that we all understand, that cannot be misunderstood. For so long as we inflict violent acts on one another history will continue to repeat itself and violence will continue its vicious cycle.