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Mafalda creator “Quino” awarded Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities
Argentinian cartoonist Joaquin Salvador Lavado Tejon, known as "Quino" (R), creator of the "Mafalda" comic strip, stays next to his wife at a publishing house before giving a press conference in Buenos Aires on May 21, 2014. Quino was awarded Wednesday with the Prince of Asturias Prize on Communication and Humanities. AFP PHOTO/JUAN MABROMATA.

MADRID.- The cartoonist Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, known worldwide by his pen name Quino, has been bestowed with the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

The Jury for the Award –convened by the Prince of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by Víctor García de la Concha and made up of Inés Alberdi Alonso, José Antonio Álvarez Gundín, Alberto Anaut González, Luis María Anson Oliart, Juan Barja de Quiroga Losada, Adela Cortina Orts, Albert Espinosa i Puig, Soledad Fox Maura, Javier Garciadiego Dantán, Javier González Ferrari, Jordi Gutiérrez Roldán, Miguel Ángel Liso Tejada, José Narro Robles, Benigno Pendás García, José Antonio Vera Gil, Enrique de Ybarra e Ybarra and Ramón López Vilas (acting as secretary).

This candidature was put forward by Rafael Puyol Antolín, member of the Jury for the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences.

Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, known worldwide by his pen name Quino, was born in Mendoza (Argentina) in 1932. Son of Andalusians who emigrated to Argentina in 1919, he discovered his vocation thanks to his uncle Joaquín Tejón, a painter and graphic designer, and began studying Fine Arts in his hometown when he was 13 years old. He abandoned his studies in 1949, determined to devote himself to comics and humour. He published his first page in 1954 and then went on to publish his cartoons, drawings and comic strips in newspapers and magazines in America and Europe. Following the 1976 military coup in Argentina, Quino was exiled in Milan. In 1990, he adopted Spanish nationality and has also resided alternately between Madrid and Buenos Aires.

Acknowledged as one of the leading cartoonists worldwide, Quino rose to fame with his Mafalda comic strips. This character was created for a failed advertising campaign, shortly after he published his first collection, Mundo Quino [The World of Quino] (1963). The first Mafalda comic strip was published on 29th September 1964 in the Argentine capital in the weekly magazine Primera Plana. In the Mafalda series, Quino reflected the world of adults as seen through the eyes of a group of children. The leading character was an inquisitive, intelligent, ironic, non-conformist girl, concerned with peace and human rights, who hates soup and loves the Beatles. The stories of this rebellious character, who reached Europe in 1969 thanks to Prince of Asturias Laureate Umberto Eco, who defined her as an “angry heroine”, have been translated into fifteen languages and published in newspapers and magazines worldwide. Quino stopped drawing her in 1973. However, interest in Mafalda has continued right up to the present day, with re-editions of her books which have been adapted to the new technologies and are now available in e-book format.

After he stopped drawing Mafalda, Quino devoted himself to a more caustic, black humour targeted more towards an adult audience, which he has brought together in his collection of comic books. His most recent books include, among others, ¡Qué presente impresentable! [What an Unpresentable Present!] (2005), La aventura de comer [The Adventure of Eating] (2007) and ¿Quién anda ahí? [Who Goes There?] (2013). The last book is a reflection of current fears, through his last publications in the media, plus some unreleased publications and some of his few drawings in colour. During the last years before his retirement, Quino published mainly in the daily newspaper Clarín. He only drew Mafalda again for campaigns at the request of organizations such as UNICEF and the Argentine government. He did so after the failed 1987 coup against President Raúl Alfonsín –1985 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation– when he drew Mafalda saying “Yes to democracy! Yes to justice! Yes to freedom! Yes to life!” In 1993, the Mafalda comic strips were adapted to cartoons and the character has participated in comic and humour competitions and festivals in many countries.

To mark Mafalda’s 50th “anniversary”, in 2014 the International Cartoon Festival of Angoulême (France) paid tribute to Quino and recreated the life-size environment of the character and her companions in the “Mafalda, a 50-year-old girl” exhibition. Another namesake memorial show shall be displayed throughout the year in several countries, including the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, to commemorate World Book Day. An “Illustrious Citizen” of Mendoza and Buenos Aires and Honorary Chair of Graphic Humour at the University of Alcalá de Henares, Quino has received numerous awards. These include the Cartoonist of the Year Award at the International Salon of Montreal (1982), two Konex Platinum Awards for Visual Arts-Graphic Humour (1982 and 1992) and a Konex Special Mention (2012), the Quevedos Latin American Prize for Graphic Humour (2000) and the Romics Oro Prize (Rome, 2011).

According to the Statutes of the Foundation, the Prince of Asturias Awards aim “to reward scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. As part of this spirit, the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities shall be conferred on those “whose creative and investigative work in any type of humanistic activity or in any activity related to social communication, within the framework of the sciences and disciplines that both fields of activity encompass, represents an outstanding contribution to universal culture”.

This year a total of 22 candidatures from Argentina, Colombia, Denmark, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Spain ran for the Award.

This is the third of eight Prince of Asturias Awards to be bestowed this year for the thirty-fourth time. The Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts went to American architect Frank O. Gehry and the Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences was given to French historian and Hispanist Joseph Pérez. The rest of awards will be announced in the coming weeks in the following order: Technical and Scientific Research, Literature and International Cooperation and Sports, with the Concord award being announced in September.

Each Prince of Asturias Award, which date back to 1981, comprises a diploma, a Joan Miró sculpture representing and symbolising the Awards, an insignia bearing the Foundation's coat of arms, and a cash prize of 50,000 Euros. The awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a grand ceremony chaired by H.R.H. the Prince of Asturias.

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