In cartoonist parlance, a “baby” is a piece of work. Cartoonists often speak of “finding a home” for their babies — in other words, a place for their cartoons to be published. The “babies” in this exhibition are from 10 cartoonists of Asian descent who have been published in The New Yorker. Some of the cartoons have appeared in the venerable magazine; others are the artists’ favorites. Still others best represent their worldviews.
The artists themselves are also babies: young in age or in their careers. Sometimes both. They’re from all over the United States (California to Texas to New York), Canada, New Zealand, and Singapore. They explore a wide variety of topics. From “mundane” everyday life to identity. Inclusivity and exclusivity to society and culture. The world of nature and the world of working. Some of their cartoons are absurdist. Others will make you think twice. All will make you laugh.
Included in this group of Asian “babies” is an artist who might be considered the father of Asian New Yorker cartoonists: Monroe Leung. Born in Los Angeles, CA in 1915, he worked as an artist for the Warner Brothers cartoon studio and an architectural renderer for several advertising companies. His cartoon in The New Yorker was published in 1949. The inclusion of Leung’s works reminds us how few Asian cartoonists of his era there were. The past few years have seen an explosion of talent and a wider variety of artists, giving birth to a new generation of cartoonists whose voices are equipped to inspire the next one.