Cartoon by Pedro X. Molina for the exhibition “El camino de la bala”, Encuentro Internacional Cartón Club “La Línea de Fuego”. Mexico, September 2018
Nicaraguan cartoonist and illustrator friend Pedro Javier Molina Blandón (1976), who signs his work as PxMolinA, has won the Gabo Prize 2021 Recognition of Excellence, awarded by the Gabo Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
He is awarded“for his career as a sharp and creative cartoonist, his incisive commentary on the abuses of power and for being a benchmark for satire as a genre that adds value to journalism“.
The Gabo Foundation adds that the award is also an acknowledgement of the work of cartoonists in Ibero-America and a voice of encouragement to those who do resistance journalism in the region.
He is the first cartoonist to receive this recognition and the second to receive an institutional award from the foundation, after the award given to Hermenegildo Sábat Garibaldi (1933-2018), winner of the “Tribute” category of the New Journalism Award in 2005.
Molina was the creator and editor for ten years of the humour supplement El Alacrán in the newspaper El Nuevo Diario.
Since 2014, he has been a cartoonist for the weekly Confidentialwhose premises were occupied by the Orteguista Police (PO) on 14 December 2018
At the time denounced (Interview) he had received threats from supporters of Daniel Ortega’s government and the PO Rosario Murillo and pointed to both as responsible for anything that might happen to him or to people close to him.
Confidential page no. 1105 of 23 to 29 December 2018 (Full PDF)
Exit from Nicaragua
Pedro fled Nicaragua and settled in Ithaca (NY) hosted by ICOA, becoming the seventh artist-in-residence to be hosted by the programme ICOA.
Pedro and his family left Nicaragua on Christmas Day 2018 after police killed one journalist, imprisoned two others and ransacked the offices of Confidencial, the media outlet he works for.
ICOA covered the travel expenses and also provided financial and logistical support to Molina and his family. They also acted as a bridge to Ithaca College, where Pedro works as an international visiting scholar in their “…Honors Program“.
In addition to teaching, he participates in exhibitions, conferences abroad and local events, and continues to send his cartoons to Nicaraguan and international media
Molina was the first cartoonist hosted by ICOA since its founding in 2001 and its first Latin American resident.
ICOA is part of ICORN (International Cities of Refuge Network), based in Norway, which has already hosted other cartoonists such as the Iranians Mana Neyestani y Ali Duranithe Sudanese Khalid Albaih and the Bangladeshi Arifur Rahman.
How did we get here?
In 2019, Molina organised his first exhibition (“How Did We Get Here?“) in Ithaca, an exhibition of vignettes that were hung in the CAP ArtSpaceThe Ithaca Gallery, a multi-purpose space where an exhibition is held every month. It is located in the ‘Ithaca College Gallery’ at the Ithaca Tompkins Center for History & Culture in Ithaca, New York 110 N Tioga Street in Ithaca, New York.
The “How did we get here?“events, including this exhibition in which Pedro invited me to participate, were intended to enrich the local dialogue on migration