Tuesday, March 14, 2006

An hommage to an arab cartoonist: Imad Hajjaj

[Some of Imad Hajjaj's cartoons]
In many cases hommages are made to dead people. But sometimes they are made to living people. Now I'd like to make an hommage not only to a living person but also to a young person: this is a modest hommage to Imad Hajjaj who is, I believe, one of the best living arab cartoonists and one of the youngest, I must add. Political cartoonism is still dominating the arabic media, and this is for a good reason: the domination of political events on the daily life of Arab citizens (even though the actual conscious of most Arab citizens of their political status that is as citizens is obviosuly absent; but that's another problem).
Going back to Imad Hajjaj: I think after the huge impact left by Naji al-'Aliyy (and his famous cartoons especially when he contributed with al-Qabas in the 1980s) little space has been left for new "stars" among the Arab cartoonists. Imad Hajjaj is, I argue, one of the best candidates who can become a "cartoonist-star": that is someone who is not confined to the walls of a single newspaper but part of the widespread visual culture. His presence at al-Quds al-Arabi coul have been a great influence in that. In a current dominantly visual context where "cartoonism" could become part of the news and not only a medium of news (as the "Danish cartoons" showed) it's time to look seriously to the Arab cartoonists and evaluate their imapct (or the absence of their impact for that matter) on the Arabs' visual culture.
When I think of Arab cartoonists I see some "provacateurs" (the kind of "black" and sexist humor), some imitators, and many simplistic with little humor. The equation of Imad Hajjaj, however, seems to me one of the few that has moderate of humor (synic sometimes) with, good draftsmanship, smart, and liberal-patriotic position (yes at the same time... and you can have that if you'd have the good sense)...

Anyway here is a brief biography of Imad Hajjaj:
Born in Ramallah in 1967
Received Elementary Education at UNRWA schools at Al Wehdat Refugee Camp in Jordan.
Received his First Award in 1974 in an elementary school competition.
His first cartoon was published in the university newspaper (Sahafat Al Yarmouk) in 1987.
Graduated from Yarmouk University in 1991 with a BA in Fine Arts (graphic design) as a Major, and journalism as a Minor.
After graduation, he worked for several local newspapers, including Akher Khabar, Al Ahali, Al Raseef, Al Bilad, Al Mustaqbal, Al Dustour, and Al Rai. In 1992 he started working for the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper, and then moved to work for Al Dustour. Since 1993 Hajjaj has been working at the leading Jordanian daily Al Rai, until he was dismissed after one of his controversial cartoons in the year 2000.
Then he worked for Al Dustour daily newspaper from the year 2000 till the mid of 2004.
Now he is working with Al Ghad newspaper, Al Quds Al arabi (London), and his cartoons also available on www.cartoonweb.com and www.politicalcartoons.com and his own web site


At 12:19 PM, Blogger Arch Mar3y said...

baraka allah fek

i invited you to see my bage


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