Slow Journalism

  • Bonita Witte / illustration design / zwolle

“The conflict in Syria has been ongoing since I started studying at the academy. My first lessons in editorial illustration took place during the Arab Spring. Syria, a beautiful country with great historical value, was suddenly completely torn. It has now become such a complicated and bloody war that nobody wants to get involved anymore.


The abundance and lack of subtlety with which the news is sometimes presented has numbed people. It sometimes seems as if only disasters occurring close to home are still able to move people. Nevertheless, I want to make it clear that the conflict in Syria has a major impact on our society. This can be seen in the enormous flow of refugees, IS’ growing sphere of influence, our own youth travelling to Syria, and the destruction of cultural heritage.


My aim is to touch the viewer in the same way that artist William Kentridge’s work ‘Black Box’ touched me: it’s sometimes hard and cold due to the stark documentary footage and gruesome scenes pictured in the hard charcoal, yet soft and poetic in convergence with the gawky handmade figurines and layered decor.


I view my work as a new method for conveying news. Few people bother to read long articles and really immerse themselves in a subject. Everything goes fast in the digital world, relying on imagery instead of text. This is an ideal method for focusing attention on forgotten long-term issues. It is a type of slow journalism; the individual editorial illustrations that I also make are better suited for news that has to be distributed immediately.”


The Art & Design Graduation Exhibition in Zwolle takes place from 1 to 12 July.


Attend the Zwolle ArtEZ Finals Festival and discover the city’s talents. Music, design, interior design, and art education in Zwolle city centre from 22 June to 12 July.