Evan’s cartoon, created for a New Zealand newspaper, depicts a group of frightened children with a large dark figure looming behind them with the word poverty emblazoned on his front. The imagery is suggestive of the beheading of westerners by Isis. In 2014, the countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill had been passed and the Child Poverty Report revealed that 24% of children in New Zealand were living in income poverty. Evan’s work is a response to the comparative lack of public engagement child poverty in New Zealand received compared to the less immediate threats of terrorism. This lack of interest is partly due to Western attitudes, where people refrain from admitting to or discussing poverty. According to Professor Jonathon Riggs, people in developed countries tend to ignore poverty because “poverty implies backwardness, underdevelopment, and failure” (qtd. in Seah). Success, both in personal life and business life, is highly valued in Western society. For some, poverty implies that an inability to provide for your family, a lack of ability and can be seen as translatable to people’s value – making it something to be embarrassed about. This cartoon also draws on the idea that people in poverty can be deserving or undeserving of assistance (Gans, qtd. in Pear). In this work, the children are deserving of assistance, viewed as innocent victims of circumstance in need of rescuing.
Evans, Malcolm Paul. “NZ’s Real Terrorist Threat.” National Library of New Zealand. New Zealand Government, 1 Dec. 2014. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.
Pear, Robert. “The Culture of Poverty.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 09 Dec. 1995. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.
Seah, Kevin. “The Invisible Poor.” The Straits Times. SPH Digital News, n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.
Young, Audrey. “Foreign Fighters Bill Passes.” The New Zealand Herald. NZME, 09 Dec. 2014. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.