in Art & Culture

Syrian Revolutionary Caricature: Cartoonist Juan Zero

Listen to: Hans Zimmer – Aurora.

His name is Juan Zero. He has been a cartoonist for 11 years. Originally from Homs, and currently living in Cairo, Juan captures the essence of the revolution in his caricature.

Going through his work exposes the negative side of what’s happening. His artwork is painful, quite metaphorically. There is no beauty in silencing a revolution in such forceful ways, and you feel that by looking at his artwork. You feel the power of ache, frustration and loss all pressed against a paper as he sketches each piece.

The one thing all Syrian artists I have looked into seem to share is simplicity in conveying their thoughts. I do not know how to explain his work regarding the Syrian revolution. I cannot use adjectives such as amazing, beautiful or fascinating, because even though they are in a way, they reflect more pain than beauty; pain I personally felt. 

I will take the time to explain a few of his caricatures because most of them reflect specific situations happening in Syria today.

His caricature:

Rima Dali:

“Stop the killing. We want to build a country for all Syrians.” A salute to Rima.

In English

On April 8th, Rima Dali stood in front of the Syrian Parliament while holding a banner that wrote, “stop the killing. We want to a build a country for all Syrians.” She was arrested along with a few other activists on the spot. For more information on Rima’s case, click here. Here’s a video of her standing with the sign:

Juan did another caricature demonstrating the solidarity of all Syrian districts with Dima, where he mapped all cities across a road with a person holding the sign in each city:

Here he shows how supporters of the regime are holding banners that urge the killings with two pictures of Bashar Al-Assad on each side of the banner, while people against are holding the same sign from above:

And another, showing international solidarity:

“Resist and rise, before you are extinct.”

With reference to a picture that went viral on the internet.

We Won’t Give Up

“Wake your bother so he goes to college,” the mother said. “There’s a strike today, he isn’t going,” said the little brother. The phrases are pointing at the picture of that older brother, martyred.

A Facebook rebel holding one too many signs. The signs wrote, out of many: “The Free Syrian Army.” “Dialogue.” “Democracy.” et all.

The Free Syrian Army controversy:

Juan dedicated a few sketches to the FSA controversy, showing that many criminals and supporters of the government are pretending to be part of the FSA while committing crimes and such.

This image crosses out an ex-con and a shabi7a [Assad supporter] from the list as FSA and shows the one in the middle to be the right one:

There has been a series of kidnaps and abductions of citizens by people claiming to be the FSA in Syria, mainly in Aleppo. The image below shows how two sides claiming to be the FSA are arguing. One says, “We are the FSA, we want a two million ransom for the kid [we abducted].” Then the other replies, “liar. We are the FSA. You have two days to return the kid.”

Theorists phalanx:

The Syrian uprising has been notorious with keyboard theorists; people who spend their online time analysing and criticizing the revolution [negatively], without any constructive input of sorts. I thought this was hilarious because Juan really captures the essence of such jobless people. The project seems to be ongoing, so I’ll be posting the only two images he sketched so far:

“Formation of the theorists phalanx”

Dani, senior year school student, 17 years old. He has 3 Facebook accounts and 2 twitter accounts. His hobbies are analysing the revolution and issuing religious fatwas.

These are a few samples of the kind of caricature Juan sketches. All his work is only displayed on his Facebook page.

You can view other sketches and follow his work by liking his page on Facebook.

Note: All images used in this post are the intellectual property of the person behind Juan Zero.

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