BEIRUT: Ever since he was 10, Mohammad Nohad Alameddine showed a huge interest in local and regional politics, which drove him to illustrate his sarcastic thoughts on paper and to become an illustrator and a political cartoonist.
He never expected that 12 years later, in 2018 and at the age of 22, he would win "La Plume de Pierre Sadek" award, before even completing his master's degree in Illustration and Comics at ALBA in 2019. As a freelancer, his work quickly became featured in newspapers (such as Al-Akhbar) and on his social media.
His award-winning cartoon depicted the invasion of coastal properties, which particularly threatens aquatic animal life.
“Mrs. Michèle Standjofski helped us a lot during our academic pursuit of happiness,” he said, adding: “I will forever be grateful for her mentorship and I can never forget how hard she was on us, so we could be the best versions of ourselves.”
Growing up in a secular school shaped his understanding of the world, and his parents supported him since day one. Both architects, his parents showered him with teaching books about illustration once they felt that their son was talented at an early age. His number one inspiration is Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali, known for his criticism of the Arab and Israeli regimes.
Labeled by the nickname "Nougat," Alameddine's cartoons critique economic, political, social and environmental issues quite daringly. He finds it hard to be satirical and correctly understood by most people at the same time. In fact, the message behind the cartoon should be instantly delivered, because the audience will not spend much time analyzing its content.
“Even if I’m sarcastic by nature, it takes lots of knowledge to be able to correctly criticize. I still need so much time to improve my skills, that’s for sure,” he confirmed. “At first, I didn’t understand why people from different Lebanese regions feared each other even when I asked my parents about it. Their version of what happened during the Civil War and after it will always be subjective. I thought it was time for me to look for the truth by myself,” he added.
It takes an average of three hours for him to complete a cartoon, knowing that press cartoons can't be outdated and are usually exaggerated and based on extensive research that helps him understand the political situation and the audience's psyche.
He told Annahar: "I will raise my voice through my illustrations places that need me the most, despite my family’s fear of my work getting censored.”
Alameddine always felt that he could never fit in the complicated society he lives in, where everybody is idolizing a leader or blindly following an ideology.
However, he added: "We're stuck in an interesting country, despite all the crises."
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