Muammar Qaddafi has become synonymous with humor, whether he’s present or absent. His personality, along with his crimes, is a major source of inspiration for Libyan artists and cartoonists, who have turned the walls of Benghazi into canvases on which they display their work.
Qais al-Hilali was the first to draw caricatures of Qaddafi, but the strongman’s loyal troops did not stand for his audacity and are said to have killed the artist in March.
Ibrahim bin Hamid, a young cartoonist said that Hilali’s assassination did not frighten him. Ibrahim finds graffiti to be the best form of expression. He says nobody sponsors or financially supports the artists, they pay for their tools and colors themselves, and their only motivation is their desire for freedom of expression.
“The Dictator’s Crimes Exhibition” showcases the creativity of young Libyan artists who, it seems, were just waiting for such an opportunity.
Artists used shells and bullets belonging to Qaddafi troops to create sculptures while others created statues to express their hopes and vision for their new country.
People attending the exhibition were also treated to performances by artists who mimicked Qaddafi by narrating his speeches.
Original report: Roula al-Khatib
Adaptation: Sarah Sfeir
Voice: Noora Faraj