Published in The Citizen Newspaper – ِAugust 29th, 2013 in my weekly column Blography of Sudan


On March 12,2008 Talal Nayer posted his photo with the word “Hello” on his blog That was his first post, emphasizing the importance of the visual factor in the blog and paving the way for the 716 posts that followed in the last five years. Talal is a Sudanese cartoonist and visual artist and he uses his blog as a display area for his work and opinions. Talal’s cartoons are politically oriented with a sense of dark humor and a minimum or sometimes no text on them. The blog’s header is composed of the blogger’s name written in a combination of Latin letters, economic and mathematical symbols and Ge’ez (the alphabet used in Amharic and Tigrinya) letters, this unique text is displayed on the background of one of Talal’s pieces; a variation of Shepard Fairy’s Obama “Hope” poster. In Talal’s version of the poster Obama’s face is replaced with an ear in reference to the latest interception and surveillance scandal of the NSA and the US government. This header tells a lot about Talal’s loud sarcasm and his use of pop-culture icons in a way that mostly defies and questions the culture itself, it also shows his fields of interests which include politics, economy, art and identity among others.

Talal Nayer uses the icons of pop-culture to defy and question it.

Talal Nayer uses the icons of pop-culture to defy and question it.

Most of the posts on this blog are Talal’s cartoons, usually accompanied by an image of the publication where they were featured. Talal’s cartoons mostly address current political events, and with no geographical borders he sketches his way between the oil crises in Sudan, the protests of Gezi Park in Turkey or those in Brazil, the African debt and the Chinese economy.

The blog also contains a number of articles mostly written by Talal and sometimes translated by him or articles of other authors that he is sharing with us. The articles are written in Arabic or English and though his old pieces include a number of creative literary writing, newer pieces are mostly non-fictional, introducing other artists such as his article on the Portuguese cartoonist José Luis Martín, his article on the Highlife musician Prince Nico Mbarga or his interview with the Tunisian digital artist Asma Bezneiguia which shows a knowledge of art as well as an open-mind towards its several possible courses of development. Talal’s opinion articles include pieces on identity, journalism, politics as well as interesting analytical pieces on the politics of sport. The English articles however come with the slight technical problem of a not-so-easy-to-read font, making the reading less pleasant than it could be.

Talal Nayer working on his graffiti of Muhammad Ahmad Mahgoub (1908-1976). He was a Prime Minister of Sudan a writer. This painting located in Zenndiya,Umm Ruwaba, Kordufan.

Talal Nayer working on his graffiti of Muhammad Ahmad Mahgoub (1908-1976). He was a Prime Minister of Sudan a writer. This painting located in Zenndiya,Umm Ruwaba, Kordufan.

One of the sections of the blog is titled “Nayer seen by his friends”, which contains a number of portraits of Talal Nayer by cartoonists from all over the world, emphasizing one more time the visual nature of the blog and the global nature of Talal’s interests and work.

Talal Nayer is also a graffiti artist and in his blog he presents some of his work on the walls of his hometown Umruwaba – North Kordofan, as well as his work initiating a Cartoon Workshop for students in Umruwaba.

Talal’s work was featured in Several publication in Sudan, Netherlands, England and Saudi Arabia. He also received several national and international awards.

Enjoy Talal Nayer’s art and writing and visit his blog for more of them.

History and Present-day of Sudan Cartoon by Talal Nayer

by Talal Nayer (posted on April 24, 2009)

Sudanese cartoon now is comparatively modern. Sudan knew this art since 1821 when the Turkish army occupied the country.

They brought with them the stories and tales of The Near East, charters of these stories and tales speared widely, among these characters was “Juha”. Many countries have similar charters, for example in Iran and Azerbaijan we find “Molla Nasreddin”, in Turkey we find Naserddin Khoja.

The stories and jokes of these characters spread widely among poor people in the towns and villages, generations pass them to generations. After occupation of Sudan by Britain and Egypt in 1898 Sudanese newspapers like Alsudan Alhadeeh, Alhadara, Alfajar published cartoons from English and Egyptian newspapers especially from The English Magazine “Punch”, but at that time there was no Sudanese cartoonist.

The first cartoonist in Sudan “Ez Alddin Osman (1933-2008) started his work in 1959 in “Alakhbar” newspaper, and then he transferred to “Alray Alaam”, “Alayam” and “Alsahafa” newspapers.

In the early of 1980`s “Ez Alddin” had been banished to Emirates for ten years because one of his cartoons against the Minster of transports in the government of the ex-president Gaffer Numaery .When he returned back to Sudan in 1986 he continued his work with “Al telegram” ,Nabbed Alkarikaeer” and “Alsharie Alsyasi” Newspapers .

He retired and stopped his drawing cartoons in 2005.

“Ez Alddin Osman had a great influence on the Sudanese politics and society. He had a great ability in creating public opinion. Ismail Alazahari the first Sudanese Prime Minster after Independence in 1956 was accustomed to start his day by reviewing Ez Alddin Osman`s cartoons.

His cartoons discussed in markets, streets and offices, some of his works became famous jokes in Sudan told even today.

Ez Alddin Osman (1933-2008)

Cartoon art in Sudan reached it’s climax point in 1994 when “Nabbed Alkarikaeer” or “Cartoon Pulse” the first Sudanese cartoon newspaper. After that many cartoon newspapers published like “Alawail”, “Alam Alazkeya”, “Donya Alkarikaeer” and Alam Alcomdia”.

All these specialist newspapers supposed to be a strong base for this art nourishment, but unfortunately most of them stopped publication, now there is only “Nabed Alkarikaeer” and “Alawail” are published.

Nabbed Alkarikaeer in 1995 was the first Sudanese newspaper in distribution it exceeded all newspapers even the political one and there are more than 14 cartoonists. Now it has only two cartoonists , the space of cartoons is decreased too much , most cartoonists stopped working in newspapers because of poor salaries paid for them .In Sudan now is about 35 daily newspaper , cartoonists work within their staff is only eight , four of them work in political newspapers .

This situation resulted from the fact that publishers do not allow cartoonists to publish their works especially the beginners. Even mature and experienced cartoonists have no chance to publish their works and their salaries are very poor. One of the problems of cartoon art in Sudan is security censorship which removes any work critiques political, social and economical situation.

Another problem, Sudanese cartoonist has no any organization to protect them and to improve this art. All efforts to improve this art in Sudan are individual; the state does not give any attention for cartoon art in Sudan.

The future of cartoon in Sudan is in danger, the number of cartoonist is continuously reduced , few of them take cartoon as a basic job , most of them have other jobs .

Future will witness no cartoons on the Sudanese newspapers.

Ez Alddin Osman had planted the first seed of cartoon art in Sudan, but this tree will die if no one takes care of it.


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