Thursday, August 29, 2013

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.

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, and 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.

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 Um Ruwaba – North Kordofan, as well as his work initiating a Cartoon Workshop for students in Um Ruwaba.

Talal’s work was featured in several publications in Sudan, Netherlands, England and Saudi Arabia. He also received several national and international awards. Enjoy TalalNayer’s art and writing and visit his blog for more of them.

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