Egyptian Artists Fight for Freedom in New Exhibition

Artists in Egypt gathered together to take part in a new exhibition titled “Long Live Free Art” earlier this month. The exhibition started in Cairo on the 15th January, and featured succinct, clever and artistic cartoons and drawings that highlight the freedom of expression issues going on in Egypt today. The exhibition features cartoons including anti-censorship works such as “Your Fear is their Power”, and “Holy Pain”

Egiptian Cartoon

Egiptian Cartoon

The exhibition shows the Egyptian art world’s string resistance to the country’s new constitution, which was approved at the end of December 2012. Artists, curators, academics and critics, as in cartoons history, formed an unlikely partnership to speak out against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s controversial charter, which was a victory for Islamists.
It’s not just artists that have spoken out against the new constitution. Members of the public have formed together to take part in mass protests, send open letters, and create their own street art. More demonstrations are expected to take place throughout the next few weeks, as people fight for their right to freedom of speech.
The “Long Live Free Art” exhibition is particularly interesting because the cartoons and art produced for it are the ultimate in powerful but peaceful protests. Fatenn Mostafa, founder of Art Talks Egypt, and curator of the exhibition, said that “The fear is that the Muslim Brotherhood will specify what is allowed and what is not allowed in art. The moment you put regulations on art, you kill it.”
The Long Live Free Art movement was inspired by the 1939 Art and Freedom Group’s manifesto, which was created by a group of artists who were fighting censorship all those decades ago. Today, art as a form of resisting censorship and control is just as important as it was then, and the power of the Internet, bloggers, and social media means that word of the protests can spread even more quickly.

Jeff & Groomsmen

I love
to see
cartoon illustrations
miscellaneous illustrators are making

Jeff & Groomsmen
cartoon illustration
Image by LZ Creations
Illustration of Jeff and his groomsmen used as a groomsmen gift.

original King Gouty Toe
cartoon illustration
Image by DanCentury
here’s the original version of my King Gouty Toe illustration with the "Pac Man" style eye.

Here’s the old-school version

Cartoon Histories – The Wellbee

Cartoons have often been used to inform and educate. The Wellbee was a popular mascot during the 190s. Wellbee, a cartoon bee, was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) national symbol of public health, and he appeared on many informative posters.
The Wellbee character appeared in many marketing campaigns, being featured in newspapers, printed on official CDC posters and leaflets, and even making radio and television announcements. Wellbee also made “personal” appearances at various public health events.
One of the first campaigns that Wellbee was involved with was the promotion of the Sabin Type II Orial Polio Vaccine – cunningly marketed with this carton, and the slogan “Get a booster!”:
For a cartoon images created in the 1960s, this one has held-up quite well. In fact, with the closure of the Space Shuttle program in favor of rockets, it’s almost as topical today as it was back then.
Another campaign which Wellbee ran in 1964 was one to encourage people to wash their hands more often, and to educate people in exactly how they should wash their hands:



Wellbee was also involved in campaigns to do with tetanus and diphtheria immunizations, physical fitness, and general injury prevention.
The clean and simple design of these posters is admirable. The font selection is clearly dated now, and the printing quality doesn’t stand up to modern standards, but Wellbee himself is instantly recognizable and highly memorable. In fact, many Twitter logos (and even the Fail Whale) use similar simple design elements. It would be nice to see a revival of this art style for modern posters. It’s far more attractive than the computer-generated mascots that are so popular today.
You can see the above cartoon posters, in addition to many others featuring Wellbee, at the Global Health Odyssey museum, which is run by the CDC.