My interest in the art of caricatures was sparked in the early 90s when I noticed this interesting little scrawny cartoon guy in an old al-Safeer newspaper. It was Palestinian artist Naji al-Ali’s daily caricature depicting the ravages of the Lebanese war with his signature Handala character. That drawing with its simple lines and minimalist imagery impacted me deeply and flamed my interest in political caricatures and its snarky commentary.
For those who are unfamiliar with al-Ali, here’s a snippet about his life from Wikipedia:
Naji Salim al-Ali (Arabic: ناجي العلي) (c. 1938 – 29 August 1987) was a Palestinian cartoonist, noted for the political criticism of Israel in his works. He drew over 40,000 cartoons, which often reflected Palestinian and Arab public opinion and were sharply critical commentaries on Palestinian and Arab politics and political leaders. He is perhaps best known as creator of the character Handala, pictured in his cartoons as a young witness of the satirized policy or event depicted,and who has since become an icon of Palestinian defiance. Naji al-Ali was shot in the face and mortally wounded in London by unknown persons on 22 July 1987, outside the offices of al-Qabas, a Kuwaiti newspaper for which he drew political caricatures.He died five weeks later in Charing Cross Hospital.
Throughout the years, I’ve had difficulties finding high quality samples of al-Ali’s drawings and I took it upon myself to faithfully redraw all his works that I can possibly find online and off.
Here are few reproduction samples:
Tools used: Black ink & Photoshop.