DRINKING beer is not a bed of roses, says Oleg Šuk, this year’s winner of the Golden Keg beer humour award, awarded to cartoonists on April Fools’ Day for 16 years now. His winning drawing, portraying a man bearing a cross made of beer mugs, was selected from among hundreds of works by artists from all over the world, and his success means the prize returns to Slovak hands after nine years of exclusively foreign laureates.
“People usually tend to blame drinkers for being responsible for their problems,” Šuk told The Slovak Spectator. “I took a different standpoint, trying to show that we should feel sympathy towards them, because bearing the beer cross is not as easy as it might seem,” he added, half-smiling, half-serious.
Šuk’s work attracted the attention of the jury not only thanks to its wit, but also thanks to its artistry, said Fedor Vico, cartoonist and director of the Golden Keg competition, who also said he was happy that the award was finally staying in its home country after so many years of travelling abroad.
“However, this is not completely true, because Oleg is actually of Russian origin, although he has lived in Slovakia for a quarter of a century,” he remarked. “So it reminded us a little of the medals of [Russian-born] biathlete Anastasiya Kuzmina who recently represented Slovakia at the Winter Olympics.”
Slovakia was, as usual, the country with the highest number of contestants, but the 16th Golden Keg was far from being a national competition. In fact, entrants from 40 different countries – including Turkey, China, Indonesia and Costa Rica – submitted a total of 574 cartoons.
Apart from Šuk, who received the Grand Prix, the jury gave awards to Markus Grolik from Germany, Ľubomír Juhás from Slovakia and Alexander Shaurov from Russia. Moreover, seven special prizes and 17 honorary mentions were announced.
Vico told The Slovak Spectator that the artists never fail to surprise the jury with their fresh and original ideas, in spite of the fact that they are supposed to deal with the same topic.
“Of course, there are necessarily some recurrent ideas, but I am every year astonished at the variety of themes that beer can inspire,” he stated. Interestingly, though, it seems that one need not be a beer fan to produce a witty cartoon about this popular beverage.
“The proof might be that in recent years we have started to receive cartoons from children, the youngest participant having been only seven years old,” said Vico.
Known to man as far back as the era of ancient Mesopotamia, and now produced in virtually every corner of the world, beer evokes many images that can generally be understood by anybody, such as the typical glass or foam, the director explained.
The Golden Keg jury, on the other hand, is composed of faithful beer lovers, he added.
“Nevertheless, while the selection is being done, I serve the jury a shot of borovička rather than beer so that they do not fall asleep,” Vico said. “Only when the session is over do we all have a glass of beer, except for the poor ones who have brought their cars.”
19. Apr 2010 at 0:00 | Dominika Uhríková