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An excerpt from a cartoon strip by Julia de Bres, poking gentle fun at the quirks of Luxembourg, its traditions and culture
Photo: Julia De Bres (instagram)
Satricial illustrations are social media hit
Luxembourg-based New Zealander Julia de Bres’s illustrations on life in the grand duchy have become something of a social media hit.
Drawing is in the blood in Julia de Bres’s family. On her Instagram page is a photo of her grandfather’s sketchbook from 1941, and her parents were also artists. “I have always drawn a bit,” she says. “I enjoy it to relax and so on.” Her drawings of animals are beautiful and detailed. But more recently it is de Bres’s collection of illustrations that gently poke fun at life in Luxembourg, cultural differences and the grand duchy’s quirky traditions that have been garnering acclaim on her Instagram account and on social media, thanks to shares on the Facebook page of satirical blog “Luxembourg Wurst”.
An associate professor at the University of Luxembourg researching critical sociolinguistics, minority languages, and multilingualism, De Bres has done similar comic illustrations before but never published them. This time the work also started out for her own amusement. She returned to Luxembourg in January in a bad mood, not helped by the miserable weather, and drew an illustration of “7 Things I Hate About Luxembourg”. She knew John-Paul Gomez of “Luxembourg Wurst” through her day job, and he encouraged her to produce more illustrations, which he shared with a wider audience. “I am not sure I would have done more without his encouragement,” de Bres tells Delano.
Now she is on a roll and has built up quite a collection of illustrations, tackling Luxembourg’s penchant for crémant, its annual traditions, life in a small Luxembourg village, the difference between Namur and Oberweis and, based on an actual vocabulary test her 6-year old son brought home from school, the fact that Luxembourg schools teach children about wine in one of their first language lessons. “Imagine that happening in the United States,” she says laughing.
But de Bres insists that her drawings are done out of fondness for the country she has called home since 2009. “They are not mean-spirited.” The feedback she receives attest to that. Her illustrations appeal to people from a range of backgrounds, including locals, she says. She is inspired by everyday things she notices or hears about, and her sense of humour is very dry and distinctly Anglophone and a great fit for the clever and well-written satire of the “Luxembourg Wurst”. To find out what de Bres tackles next, follow her on Instagram.