Patrick Chappatte is a political cartoonist with an international reach, and a personal history to match. Born in Pakistan, Chappatte was raised in Singapore and later Switzerland. He lived in New York for a time and now lives and works in Geneva.
Chappette’s global view comes across in his cartoons for the International Herald Tribune and other publications.
He is known in particular for his forays into cartoon journalism, in which he visits parts of the world, reporting on the situation there in cartoon or comic strip form. An example is his In the Slums of Nairobi (image above, bottom), which was published in a series on Nairobi in the Global Opinion section of the New York Times website.
Note how the use of cartoon imagery, while it doesn’t lessen the impact of the dire situation, makes for a lower barrier to entry into an uncomfortable subject than stark photographs might have.
You can see some other examples of his work in this direction on graphicjournalism.net.
Chappatte explores this increasing trend toward cartoon journalism, along with the impact, influence and role of cartoons in world events, in a fascinating talk on The Power of Cartoons for the TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) conference (you can also view the video on YouTube). He punctuates his comments with some of his cartoons.
You can see more of them on his website (French version here). When looking through his cartoons by topic (drop down menu at right), be aware that most categories have several pages, accessed from small page numbers under the cartoon thumbnails at lower right.
His work has also been published in a number of books.
Despite the difficulties faced by traditional newspapers, and their resultant decisions to abandon much of their original content, like editorial cartoons (brilliant, of course — when cicrculation is dropping, drop the content people find worthwhile), cartoons will continue to play an important part in political and social discourse.