Prominent Egyptian caricature artist, book designer, and children’s book author Mohieddin Al-Labbad died last Saturday at age 70, numerous sources report.
Al-Labbad was one of the most prominent book-cover designers in the Arab world. He also produced many illustrations and caricatures, particularly for Rose Al-Yousef and Sabah Al-Kheir magazines.
His caricatures and drawings have been collected and published in two books, Nazar 1 (1987) and Nazar 2 (1991). More recently, Al-Labbad also published 100 Drawings and more (2001). Karam corrects me that there were four volumes of Nazar.
Al-Labbad won a number of awards for his contributions to the book industry, including the 1989 Bratislava Biennial festival Golden Apple, for his children’s book Kashkoul Al-Fannan.
Literary critic and scholar Samia Mehrez writes about one of al-Labbad’s covers in her book Egyptian Writers between History and Fiction:
Dhat (transliterated by AUC Press as Zaat) was published in Cairo by Dar al-Mustaqbal al-‘Arabi, with a cover design by the distinguished graphic artist Mohieddin al-Labbad, whose design captures the major signs in the text and participates wholeheartedly in the confrontational politics of both author and publisher.
Bilal Ramadan writes in Youm7: “The most distinctive feature of Al-Labbad’s art is the evident simplicity, how he addressed the reader directly in a friendly and paternal manor, or maybe like a teacher, this feeling was not highlighted but its presence was clearly felt.”
And, from Mohammad Cheair at Al-Akhbar:
When Al-Labbad entered the field of designing books, he changed everything, turning book covers into a visual text as important as the written text within it.
Some of Al-Labbad’s work can be found in the Palestinian Poster Project Archives.