Egypt uses cartoons to address social issues

14th April 2015 Egypt is choosing an unusual yet highly proactive way to deal with some of social issues in the country. From the 5th to 10th of April, the country hosted the second International Cartoon Gathering in the capital Cairo, displaying art work that shed light on health-related issues such as addiction, smoking and pollution.

The event was organised by the Egyptian Association for Caricature together with the culture and health ministries, and showcased work by over 300 artists from 60 countries.

Artists taking part used their caricatures to create awareness on issues such as negligence in hospitals, contaminated blood bags and water pollution.

Artist and critic Ibrahim Henetar, was a member of the committee that chose the work displayed at the gathering. He stated that this year’s event focused on caricatures unaccompanied by captions, adding that strong pictures speak for themselves.

Henetar is quoted as saying  “The gathering was an idea that I proposed to the foreign culture sector because I was on the judging committee of a gathering in Bulgaria similar to this initiative. I was the only Egyptian judge on the committee at this competition, so I proposed it to the foreign cultural relations sector, and it was put into effect by the Egyptian committee for caricatures. Last year we held the first gathering, and its theme was “Egypt in the eyes of the artists of the world”. This time, in the year 2015, health is the theme. Beside that, general cartoons are also displayed – it is possible that any artists display any general caricature ideas in any topic also,”

The event was not just for established artists, workshops were for caricature fans, by four artists from Italy, the event’s country of honor for this year.

Located at the Egyptian Opera house, the gallery displayed some 850 caricature pieces.

Artist Amena al-Hamadi from the United Arab Emirates participated with about 9 pieces of work, and is quoted as saying “The gathering is something to be proud of because Egypt is a civilization hub and is a pioneer with art. Egypt has provided this congregation as artists to gain expertise from other collaborating artists. We can see different styles and types of art,”

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