Waiting, September 2012
If you’re frequent to the internet for your dose of current events -especially about Sudan- you would have come across one of Qatar based Sudanese cartoonist Khalid Al Baih’s pieces. His brand, Khartoon! has grown immensely since it first started in 2011, with more than 36,000 Facebook followers from the Arab region and the world. Al Baih’s cartoons capture the essence of Laughtivism; whereas he uses his talent to protest injustice or highlight prominent social and political events around the world.
From satirical to somber, his easily identified characters and simple designs are widely appealing to like-minded activists around the world. Although his designs portray a more intricate personality, here are his thoughts on miscellaneous arts and design matters.
Omnia Shawkat: Tell us about your fascination with design and cartoons and how you began the brand Khartoon! i.e. what was the trigger?
Khalid Al Baih: I’ve always been interested in arts and design. My obsession started with morning cartoons on Sudan TV, particularly Captain Maged and the Wonderful Adventures of Nils, the Sudanese children magazine Al Sebyan, translated DC and Marvel superheroes comics and my all-time favorite Egyptian cartoonist Mohy El Din El Labbad.
I started drawing my first character and called it Super Namosa (Super Mosquito) after hearing much about the late 1980s floods in Sudan and how mosquitoes were notorious then.
After coming to Doha in 1990 my father got accustomed to buying Egyptian political cartoons magazines such as Sabah El Kheir and Rose Al Yusuf. I was fascinated at how simple cartoon make a three page article redundant and that’s when I fell in love with cartooning and Khartoon! started.
O.S: Khartoon! is almost exclusively online, are there other Sudanese or Arab cartoonists online? how do you distinguish yourself in that scene?
K.B: I don’t think any other cartoonists are exclusively online as myself and I think that is what distinguishes me among them; that I am exclusively a social media cartoonist.
Bored, October 2012
O.S: What do you think of the art scene in Sudan?
K.B: I don’t now if there is an art scene in an international art scene sense; because I still see society looking at artists as hippies with beards- like from old Egyptian movies. Nonetheless, I have no doubt that Sudan harbors amazing recognized artists such as Ibrahim AlSalahi and Rashid Diab, but many more will be discovered internationally as soon as we discover and acknowledge them ourselves.
O.S: Laughtivism is a powerful non-violent tool for social change; what do you hope Khartoon! will achieve in this regard?
K.B: Through Khartoon! I just want to express the situation and hope to get a conversation going with people, regardless of whether they agree or disagree with what I have to say about the matter.
Censorship in Sudan, September 2012
Khartoon! can be found on Facebook, Flickr and Tumblr. You can also follow Khalid on Twitter.
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