Over 15 years have passed since the tragic death of the prodigiously talented caricaturist Anatolii Kazansky in November 1998, but his sketches and philosophy are still with us. The witty drawings on sociopolitical topics about the past, the present, and the future continue to spur us to reflection. They have become images, profound metaphors, which again and again show to readers the unique facets of the author’s thought.
Anatolii Kazansky’s name is known and dear to an attentive reader of The Day. He had worked in our newspaper in 1996-98 (practically till his last day). And today, approximately once in a month (or even much more often), The Day continues to publish Kazansky’s sketches. The editors place the master’s drawings mainly on the front pages, because they are more than just illustrations to the texts. They are a philosophic message to the future. A message through irony and laugh.
“He was a cartoonist with The Day. He drew for every issue. But his sketches extended the horizons of time. They became images, profound metaphors, which every day, many years later, turn to us a new facet of his thought. And they go to the reader again. Anatolii Kazansky, his taste and his style, is an integral, very dear to me part of the biography of the newspaper Den,” the editor-in-chief of Den/The Day Larysa Ivshyna wrote in a foreword to the album of Anatolii Kazansky’s caricatures, published to mark the 10th anniversary of the newspaper.
He had lived for only 49 years, but he managed to create more than one decade ahead of time. The archive of the artist’s works counts for nearly a thousand of sketches. His observant and ironic sketches-metaphors remain the gold fund of not only The Day, but also the entire Ukrainian society.
“Why do I draw for the newspaper Den?” the cartoonist wrote in his column a month before his tragic death (Den, no. 173 of September 11, 1998). “First and foremost, why do I draw (cartoons)? Because I am a citizen of the country where you cannot live without a sense of humor. It is equally rich in humus (black soil), and silliness, which is flourishing in this nutrient rich environment, because it is almost not used for its primary destination. To counter this, I find it necessary to support as much as I can any signs and sprouts of humor on the fertile soil of Ukrainian national traditions. And in the newspaper Den I draw because I share its political credo. What is more important, namely in Den, for the first time over many years, I have been given freedom to express my attitude to the problems highlighted in the newspaper.”
“HE WAS A PHILOSOPHER EVEN MORE THAN A CARTOONIST”
Ihor LUKIANCHENKO, cartoonist:
“Anatolii Kazansky in his creative work was much in advance of his time. This might be the reason why he as an artist and as a philosopher was not in demand and recognized enough. At the same time he was even more a philosopher than a cartoonist. Caricature was just a way, a method of expressing his inner world, a tool with the help of which Kazansky gave shape to his brilliant, paradoxical ideas.
“He took part in international caricature competitions, but as a rule did not win any prizes, because the difference between his sketches and those of other cartoonists in terms of idea, execution technique, and acuteness was too frightening.
“Kazansky is beyond time and he continues to live in his sketches on the pages of the newspaper Den. Not only do his caricatures remain relevant, but on the contrary, acquire new idea content, reveal their hidden facets and previously unseen sense-bearing tones in the background of present-day media life.
“I recall one of our meetings in his small work-room in the former office of Den/The Day in Obolon District. During our conversation Kazansky did not leave hold of the pencil, and before the end of the meeting the sheet was marked all over with tens of caricature images and plots. I had an impression that his hand was inventing and drawing something autonomously. He drew with a mechanic pencil with a thin rod, and later inked the drawing. The pens were very thin either, as well as his subtle feeling and perception of the world.”
With black shoulder length hair, long beard, kind starry eyes, broad shoulders, tall, a bit bow-backed, ironical, sometimes pungent, charismatic, and indecently talented, with sharp wit and phenomenal sense of humor – that is how we remember him. Happy Birthday to you, Artist!
It will be reminded that the album of Anatolii Kazansky’s sketches (the Russian and English versions of the book are available) and a set of postcards with selected sketches can be ordered on The Day’s website and cost 50 and 15 hryvnias respectively.