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Ahmad Nady: A budding Egyptian cartoonist

Nady says he would prefer his cartoons to be used as banners in protests than to be published in newspapers

Menna Taher, Friday 12 Aug 2011
Obey the intellectuals, obey the SCAF, obey the Pope, obey the MB leader
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While the Brazilian artist, Carlos Latuff is gaining ground on the Facebook and Twitter scene, commenting on every event as it is happening, an Egyptian talent, Ahmad Nady, is brimming with cartoons.

Nady, who comes from an artistic family, has been set to follow this path from an early age. His father Mohamed Nady is a cartoonist, while his mother, Iman Ezzat, is a writer and sculptor.

His cartoons are bold, striking and blunt in their criticism. He does not tiptoe around or subtly hint at political activity. Instead, he reflects upon issues in a manner that might even be considered audacious to some.  

He has drawn a member of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) with lingerie splattered on his uniform as criticism of the virginity tests that were conducted in military prisons on female protesters. He has also depicted a member of the SCAF with his hands under the dress of the goddess of justice as a reflection of the SCAF’s hindrance to the cleansing of the Egyptian judiciary.

He refuses to draw cartoons for any newspaper: “I don’t like to work under conditions or restrictions. I like to have my own freedom,” he said “Some do not understand my political stance because I criticise the liberals and the Muslim Brotherhood. I criticise anything that I do not like.”

Though his main sphere is the internet world, Nady said that many of his cartoons are also used as banners in protests, which for him is more fulfilling than being published in a newspaper.

The characters he draws have very distinct facial features that give them a caricaturist yet realistic touch. When looking through his portfolio on his Facebook page, one not only finds politically-driven caricatures, but also comics for children, and a collection of paintings of the popular movements against the British occupation in Egypt.

One painting depicts the brutal Denshway executions of Egyptian farmers in 1906 in a very poignant manner.

Nady has worked in many publications including comic books such as Bassem, Maged and Alaa El Deen and the magazine, Sabah El Kheir. Currently he is the art director in Tarek Nour’s advertising agency.

However, Nady has criticised the Egyptian comic scene, for he believes that not enough attention is given to comic artists and that this is why many submit their work for publications in the Gulf.

Currently he is working on a comic book that relays the events he witnessed on 28 January. He believes that all the incidents that he faced that day reflect what happened afterwards in Egypt.

For Nady, the most important thing is to get to know the people of his country: “In my works I speak the language of the people,” he said “I do not try to sound sophisticated and I believe it is important to capture the soul of the people in the country.”

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