graphic artists in the arab countries

Arab comics boiling in Angoulême

Sexuality, religion, women’s freedom … From the Maghreb to the Middle East, daring artists’ collectives flourish. The works of about fifty authors are at the Angoulême Festival.
The world | 26.01.2018 at 09:14 • Updated 26.01.2018 at 16h18 | By Frédéric Potet

We must not confuse “the Arabic of the future”, the hit comic book by Riad Sattouf, with the future of Arabic comics. Incarnated by a new generation of writers from the Maghreb and the Middle East, this one is on display this weekend, the International Festival of Comics (FIBD) Angoulême. The work of nearly 50 draughtsmen from a dozen countries (Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt …), is gathered in an exhibition echoing the events that agitate the Arab world -musulman for several years.
If BD has existed for a long time in these regions of the globe, especially through the caricature or distribution of illustrated for the youth, the creation of graphical narratives referring to the social and political situations of the moment knows a bubbling contagious recently, especially in the main capitals. A bubbling to which the “Arab Spring” are not strangers. Editorial independence and taken with the real The phenomenon manifests itself mainly through several collectives producing irregular periodicals, and sometimes only published on the Web. Their titles testify as much to a certain editorial independence in relation to the power in place as to an affirmed will to develop a subject having taken with reality.

The oldest, Samandal, born in Beirut in 2007, takes its name from the salamander, amphibian animal oscillating between two worlds, symbol of adaptability. In Cairo, Tok Tok is a reference to motorized tricycles trying to escape the traffic jams of the city. Skefkef owes its name to a sandwich of the neighborhoods of Casablanca, “Pleasant to taste but with an unpleasant odor”, say its creators. In Tunis, Lab619 has taken over the bar code (619) which identifies Tunisian products.

Several common points …