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University gallery exhibits political cartoons

By Magdalene MichalikStaff Writer

Amid the onslaught of campaign advertises, political speeches and debates this election season, a small group of artists have found another way to sway public opinion:  through political cartoons.

Hofstra University students and faculty have the opportunity to view the “Political Slant: Editorial Cartoons” exhibit in the David Filderman Gallery on the ninth floor of the Axinn Library until December 21, 2012.

“[Political cartoons] convey messages through symbolism to get the gist of the cartoonist’s view,” Karen Albert, associate director of Exhibitions and Collections at the Hofstra University Museum, said. “We wanted to show how art can influence public opinion.”

Hofstra University’s exhibitions are planned approximately 2 or 3 years in advance, and election season was kept in mind when choosing a theme, according to Albert.

The political cartoons on display represent the thematic topics of the economy, presidential debate and elections, education, human rights, and war.

Political cartoonists prove that art can change the way that the public view issues. They have been used since the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther used visual representations to convey his ideas to a largely illiterate public, according to Albert.

“In the editorial cartoons, the issues addressed are serious,” said Albert. “However, they are lighthearted and make you chuckle. They make you think.”

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Photo gallery: homemade protest signs at the Hofstra presidential debate