Cairo-based identical twin cartoonists Mohamed and Haitham El-seht delighted the Design Indaba 2016 audience with brotherly banter and a look into the power of art. At the heart of Egypt’s creative scene, the twins believe that art has the power to convey meanings that would be lost if confined to written word.
The democratic uprising or Arab Spring that gripped Egypt 2011 led to a crackdown on the country’s internet access and forms of expression. “We lost a lot of friends,” says Mohamed. “But we won a new way to express our rights.”
It was not only a political revolution but also an artistic revolution, he adds.
The mass demonstrations, riots and protests had a drastic effect on the art scene in Egypt, specifically street art. The uprising also encouraged the twins to move forward with their own products. They went on to design comics about sexual harassment in Egypt, and a project called Kawkab el rasameen (“painters planet”).
The project brings together a large community of local artists and holds artistic gatherings in the streets of Egypt as well as workshops between professional, underground and amateur artists.
They’ve also founded Garage comics magazine and the Cairo Comix International Festival, which took place in September 2015.