Caricature has existed in Egypt for nearly a century now, with cartoonists such as Sarokhan and Mohamed Rakha establishing the form.
Since the Arab Spring a generation of cartoonists has also emerged in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf countries. They prove just as adept as artists from Morocco or Egypt at identifying and making fun of the gluttonies and excesses that Muslims give in to on the pretext of the fast during Ramadan, turning the holy month’s meaning on its head.
Established in 1984, the Egyptian Society for Caricature this week joins forces with the Moroccan Society for Caricature, the Kuwaiti Society for Caricature, and the Jordanian Tomato Cartoon website to present the first pan-Arab virtual caricature exhibition entitled Ramadanyat.
A five-minute video features 55 caricatures by a cartoonists from 15 Arab and Muslim countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Tunisia, in addition to two participants from the USA and India.
The exhibition is coordinated by cartoonists Amena El Hamady from the United Arab Emirates and Fawzy Mursi from Egypt.
The video has been broadcast on social media channels and related websites.
Under quarantine, with mounting fear of the coronavirus, the strangeness of Ramadan this year is reflected in cartoons about hypochondria and social distancing, and others that underline the heroic role of medical workers.
Many feature the green spherical visualisation of the virus as a playful and wicked being. It also includes one work by Egypt’s prominent late cartoonist Mohammed Effat, who passed away last year.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 21 May, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly