The brutal assault to which Syrian political cartoonist Ali Farzat was subjected at the hands of Bashar al-Assad’s security forces has inspired Egyptian artists to hold an exhibition that includes works they made in honor of his courage.
Some of the artists who will have their works displayed at the weeklong exhibition, to be called A Tribute to Ali Farzat, know Farzat only by name, but decided to take part following their shock at the way he was beaten up by Syrian security.
Farzat has been in a Damascus hospital for the past three weeks after he was brutally attacked at dawn by regime-loyal thugs on his way back home from his office.
The exhibition will feature the work of 65 cartoons, 45 produced before the attack on Farzat and 20 made especially for the exhibit. The latter category depicts Farzat as a victim of the brutality of the Syrian regime, said Egyptian artist Mohamed Abla, owner of Atelier Cairo, the art hall in which the exhibition will take place
“The exhibition will include works by Egypt’s most famous cartoonists in addition to a 3-meter long, 2-meter wide wooden mural on which visitors will be requested to write short messages to Farzat,” he told Al Arabiya.
After the exhibition, Abla added, this mural will be photographed and the picture will be sent to the media.
“Then we’ll send the mural and the other works in the exhibition to Farzat in Damascus, hoping this will be a consolation for him.”
Abla, who founded al-Fayoum Art Center and al-Fayoum Caricature Musuem, will contribute with a portrait of Farzat, the only non-caricature work in the exhibition.
In addition to participating artists, the exhibition will also host Iraqi composer Nasseer Shamma, founder of The Arab House of Oud in Cairo, as well as a variety of journalists, poets, and writers.
The exhibition, in which none of the works will be put up for sale, will be inaugurated by the Egyptian minister of culture.
Ali Farzat is not a stranger to Egyptians; they got to know some of his works two years ago in an exhibition organized by the British Council in Cairo. The exhibition, in which six other Arab artists took part, toured six Arab capitals and several European cities.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)