Ali Farzat

As discussed in class today, these images are examples of Ali Farzat’s work.  He is a Syrian political cartoonist who normally draws cartoons for newspapers.  In addition, he has a website and a facebook where he circulates his work.  Although he has been drawing cartoons that are against the government for decades, his work has recently become more direct in conjunction with the Syrian uprising.

These particular cartoons are examples of his earlier work that was less explicit, but still extremely political.  In both of the example cartoons a military uniform is used to represent a leader or the government in general.  However, the leaders are not drawn to represent a particular person, which is probably one of the reasons that these cartoons were allowed to be published.  Although this was most likely done intentionally by Farzat, it is also interesting to consider other elements of his work that helped it get published and whether they were intentional.  For example, there are no words in either of these cartoons.  This could be simply a style choice.  However, it does expand the possible messages, as images can be interpreted more ways than captions that usually summarize the message of the work.  Personally, I think the message of these cartoons is that leaders and/or the government are superficially helpful while actually harming the people.  However, this is just one of many interpretations.  The fact that there are these many interpretations probably helped these cartoons get published, as the government knew that less people would get the message because they would have to understand it first.

Here is his website and his facebook if you want to see more examples of his work.

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2 Responses to Ali Farzat

  1. I agree with you completely! I also love the image of the ladder on the piece of paper floating in air. To me, it represents legislature and political papers. Like your analysis, it represents how the governments may appear like it is helping those in need, when it is actually just writing meaningless papers. Also, the idea of the paper gently floating in air gives me the impression of a slow-moving and ineffectual government. This can also be represented in the largeness of the governmental figure.

  2. Yes, I agree with both of you guys! The physical size of the government seems to connote that he is well fed, nourished, and even indulgent. Whereas the rest of the people he is “helping” are frail and small. There is a definite contrast here. Another theme that I find interesting in how Farzat portrays the government as being weak and easily collapsable. For example, the cartoon Figure 11 in the Wedeen readings shows the government as a tiny figure trying to control as LARGE throne, and the only way to do that is for him to cut off the ladder stairs behind him.

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