Paris attack leaves Saskatchewan cartoonists shaken

Watch above: Saskatoon’s abundant animation community is reacting to this week’s tragic shooting in France by backing the satirical magazine in question. Amber Rockliffe says individual artists believe the pen is a symbol of freedom.

SASKATOON – Every swipe of Corrina Rasmussen-Turner’s pen brings to life humour, beauty, and even activism. The Saskatoon cartoonist uses her pen to connect with the world.

“I’ve always loved comics and cartoons, and I’ve always felt like they are a medium where you can really express some concepts and ideas,” explained Rasmussen-Turner.

But this week, concepts and ideas were met with deadly bloodshed. Three gunmen killed 12 people, 10 of whom were cartoonists and writers for the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

READ MORE: 12 dead after shooting at the office of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo

“[They were] families, people, just doing their jobs, just saying what they believe … there’s been so much damage done,” said Rasmussen-Turner.
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Rallies have been held around the world following the attack, with thousands holding signs saying “no fear.” Despite the show of bravery, Rasmussen-Turner said the attack has many local artists on-edge.

“If these people can attack cartoonists in a magazine or newspaper, what does that mean for the rest of us?”

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READ MORE: Canada reacts to Paris newspaper attack #JeSuisCharlie

Tim Nowlin is the head of the art department at the University of Saskatchewan. He has spent time in France and believes free speech there will prevail.

“They have a very strong spirit there, and the French really don’t like to be told what they can and can’t do by other people,” he explained. “So I think the French will ultimately be very brave in the face of intimidation.”

Several years ago, the magazine’s offices were hit by a fire bomb after their drawings poked fun at the Prophet Muhammad.

“I found myself, when I first read the news article, having great admiration for their bravery. That they were able to continue, even after the first threats,” said Rasmussen-Turner.

Thousands of rally-goers have been holding pens up as a symbol of freedom.