Arab rights road cartoon by Alexander Saroukhan, Undated - Al Masar Gallery Press Release
CAIRO – 27 December 2017: An exhibition of late Egyptian cartoonist Alexander Saroukhan’s works titled “Echoes of Past Visions” will open at Al Masar Gallery in Zamalek on January 10, 2018 through February 19, 2018.
This is the second edition in a series of exhibitions on Saroukhan’s legacy. The previous was called “Political Comedy”, which showcased dozens of examples of the artist’s work done between 1930 and 1970. “Echoes of Past Visions” will collect 35 original drawings of the artist that primarily relate to Egypt’s internal and foreign policies, along with comments on world events from nearly 50 years ago that are still relevant today, such as the Jerusalem conflict.
The Patient, drawing by Alexander Saroukhan, Undated - Al Masar Gallery Press Release
Born on October 1, 1898 in an Armenian town under the Russian Empire, Saroukhan is considered to be one of Egypt’s first cartoonists, helping to pioneer the art form as a type of important political commentary within the region. He moved with his family to Turkey’s capital of Istanbul in 1909, Saroukhan created a small newspaper with his brother – his first foray into his future career.
Upon going to study at the College of the Mekhitarists with his brother, the Armenian Genocide in 1915 forced them to stay after graduating. After his parents died, the only thing left was his art. Saroukhan focused on drawing until the end of the war, where he worked as a translator for the British Army until 1921.
He then went on to study art in Vienna, before moving to Egypt in 1924, after he already had over 100 completed artworks published. Life in Egypt was pleasant and easy, and Saroukhan grew enamored with the nation. Indeed, a feminine representation of the country is one of the only noble characters within the cartoonist’s satire. His cartoon described the political atmosphere leading up to Egypt’s eventual independence in 1953 and was harshly critical of colonial rule. Saroukhan was beloved and welcomed in Egypt, and he was considered a citizen even before gaining his official citizenship on February 16, 1955 – an occasion that made him immensely happy, according to Nile International.
Egyptian French Friendship cartoon by Alexander Saroukhan, Undated - Al Masar Gallery Press Release]
Saroukhan passed away on January 1, 1977. His artwork is currently shown at the Tate Modern Museum in Liverpool.