Caricatures of Muhammad az-Zwawi | كاريكاتير محمد الزواوي

Muhammad al-Zwawi (محمد الزواوي) was a Libyan caricaturist who lived from 1936 to 2011. Over a long career mainly in Libya, he produced a vast number of caricatures which commented on everything from social and political life in Libya, to Libya’s relationships with other countries, to politics in the world at large. His relationships with the powers-that-were were often complicated, as he critiqued a wide range of social and political issues. But his caricatures concerning Libya’s politics with other Arab nations were regularly published in the regime’s main newspapers, especially in the 1970s and 1980s.

zwawi-1The only publication of, or on, al-Zwawi’s work in the West that I know of is a little-known book produced in German in 1984 by a small imprint called Edition Wuqûf, in collaboration with al-Zwawi himself. The book is divided into two parts. Part One includes three main chapters: I. Overview of the the history and present situation of caricature in Arab lands, II. Caricature in Libya, III. Remarks on the historical and social background of al-Zwawi’s caricatures. Part Two contains something like over a hundred caricatures with German captions (original Arabic text within the caricature is left as is). Here is an example:

zwawi-3
“Look at the big words on the desk (I am a revolutionary! Serving the citizen is a sacred duty!), none of which have made it into his head.”

The main Arabic language publication of his work is an album with over 300 of his caricatures entitled الوجه الاخر ‘The Other Face’ that appeared in Libya in 1973.

wajh-akhr
The Other Face. Social and Political (Drawings) 1966-1972.

Online galleries of his work can be found here and here.

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