DesignIndaba 2016 is running from the 17th to the 19th of February in Cape Town.
Among the presentations is a talk by artists Mohamed and Haitham Rafat Elseht, “the twins at the heart of comic culture in Cairo” who appear under the name Twins Cartoon.
See the full progam here.
The twins have been interviewed a number of times by Design Indaba, and were recently interviewed by Herman Manson (@marklives) who asked them about their style, their talk at the conference, and “the challenges of and opportunities for cartoonists working in the Arab world” among other things:
We can say [that], after [the] Egyptian revolution of 2011, young artists opened new way[s] for [the] field — small projects , new startups and many art workshops — [the] world heard about new artists from [the Arab world who are creative and who have new passion. This was clear for us when we [became] co-founders of [the] Cairo Comix International Festival last year (2015).
Here they appear in an interview in the program Sabah El Ward, discussing the launch of their independent venture Garage, and their collaboration with Jordanian artists and the Kharabeesh network.
Interviews on the launch of Garage:
Here is an interview from last year with artists Samar Elgyar and Muhammad Saieed about what comics actually is and what they hope to acheive. Despite the fact that comics for children have a long history in Egypt (for example Samir), the relative newness of the new kind of comics being produced is indicated by the question the interviewer asks at the start: are you talking about caricatures?
It seems that we are still at the stage where comics are either for children, or political cartoons like the ones collected in the recent Muqtatafat: An Anthology of Independent Comics from the Arab World. In fact in a recent Arabic language article in Youm7 on the Cartoon Twins, where they speak about the funding challenges, their work is described as “caricature art.”
On the history of comics in Egypt: