Bell book makes a monkey out of President Bush

John Major in his underpants, Tony Blair’s manic staring left eye and most recently George Bush’s transformation into a chimpanzee.

Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell has consistently succeeded in finding a characteristic about public figures which for many permanently undermines their authority.

To mark the US presidential election Bell has released a book of cartoons featuring Bush entitled Apes of Wrath and an exhibition of his work is on display at The Guardian ‘s Newsroom Exhibition Centre.

He explained how the Bush character evolved saying: “I started off by watching the way he walks. He holds his shoulders up and tries to make himself look taller than he is and it makes him look like a chimp.

“The other thing he does is pout – he shoves his mouth forward just like a monkey does and his eyes are very close together.”

Bell said another Bush characteristic which is reflected in his cartoons is use of language.

“He finds it very difficult to string a sentence together. His language is also very hostile, it’s tough talk – it may work well with voters in America but it doesn’t do it for me.”

Bell admits that lampooning Bush has been a labour of love and said: “I’ve got very little time for him.

Politically he’s been a disaster.”

Bell, who was named Cartoonist of the Year at the 2003 British Press Awards, became a freelance cartoonist and illustrator in 1977.

Bell then contributed to several comics, periodicals and newspapers including Punch , Private Eye , New Statesman and Time Out before joining The Guardian in 1981.

The free exhibition of his work at the Newsroom, 60 Farringdon Road, London, is open until 12 November.

By Dominic Ponsford

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