Friday, November 21, 2014


New Egypt comic artists push limits of expression

In this Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 photo, Egyptian comic book artist Muna AbduRahman, from Shakmagia magazine, sketches at a coffee shop in Cairo. CartoonsI
In this Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 photo, Egyptian comic book artist Muna AbduRahman, from Shakmagia magazine, sketches at a coffee shop in Cairo. Cartoons and political satire go back more than 100 years in Egypt, and are a staple in newspapers that have often lampooned social mores and officials in public office. But a new generation of young comic artists is finding alternative space to express what is often a hard sell in mainstream media. Building on the region?s spirit of rebellion over the past four years, they are experimenting with new styles and new, subversive looks at Egypt?s realities. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty) (Nariman El-Mofty/AP)


Sarah El Deeb Associated Press
CAIRO (AP) — A new feminist comic book, the Jewelry Box, has emerged in Egypt, the latest addition in a blossoming scene of alternative comics, as artists seek freer outlets of expression in a country where independent voices are finding it harder to speak.
Cartoons and political satire go back over a hundred years in Egypt, and are a staple in newspapers that have often lampooned social mores and officials in public office. But a new generation of young comic artists is finding space to express what is often a hard sell in mainstream media. Building on the region's spirit of rebellion over the past four years, they are experimenting with new and more subversive style to look at Egypt's realities.
This month's first issue of Shakmagia, which means "Jewelry Box" in Arabic, focused on sexual harassment and violence, so endemic in Egypt that finally the government this year had to toughen penalties against perpetrators. A dozen artists presented stories depicting how women endure harassment and how men get away with it so easily when most people turn a blind eye.
Other new magazines feature vignettes, often presenting slices of life among young people. The most successful is an alt-zine named TokTok, where stories deal with love, joblessness, the attitudes of their elders and the authorities or the chaos of Cairo. Sometimes the approach is humorous, sometimes dark, and sometimes surreal.

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