Comics have attracted a wider audience in the past couple of years as Egyptians are becoming more interested in buying comic books, trying to imitate the art and even creating their own brands and characters.
The expanding world of cartoons and caricatures has been luring people with a vengeance. Most Egyptian artists who draw comics taught themselves, perhaps because there are no avenues to learn this kind of art. However, a passionate group of artists has taken it upon themselves to change this reality.
Mazg, founded in January 2013, is an independent organisation that aims to teach Egyptians the art of comics.
“We are a group of creative youths and employees working in cultural administration and artists. We met in October 2012 and started working on the foundation of Mazg,” said Nevin Elwan, the executive manager of Mazg. “The idea came from a common interest in different kinds of art and the founders’ strong belief in the necessity to spread all forms of new art in different Egyptian governorates.”
Mazg in Arabic means incorporation and Elwan explained: “Mazg [the name] came from our main mission to link between artists with fellow artists in the same field and also linking between the artists and the audience.”
The organisation was founded by four young women; Mona Al-Masry, Naglaa Koora, Sara Al-Masry and Nevien Adel. “The founders of Mazg are four girls with different experiences in cultural administration, human rights activism and art, along with other institutes and individuals that cooperate with Mazg.” Though the idea became a reality only two months ago, the four founders have big ambitions for what Mazg can bring to Egypt. “We hope to establish an industry and the start of a new market for comic art in Egypt,” said Elwan.
The organisation was quick to stand on their feet after its founding in January. “Our first comics’ workshop, in coordination with the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, was held by caricaturist Makhlouf and scenarist Tamer Abdel Hameed with a group of university students. We are currently finalising the short comic stories for printing and publishing and we are planning to hold an exhibition at one of the universities,” explained Elwan.
They have even greater ambitions for their upcoming activities. “Meanwhile, we are preparing to start workshops in a number of Egyptian governorates for comic art, in coordination with Welad El Balad for citizen journalism, which is also a forum for the comics’ art community,” Elwan said. The workshop, she continued, is meant for anyone interested in comics; from the artist to the publisher.
“In the forum the different groups can debate about the art of comics and how we link all the parties together to establish a proper comics industry in Egypt. The workshops will be held in cooperation with the digital expression space Adef,” she added.
Mazg activities currently being advertised through social media websites.