Opening Tomorrow: The Third Annual CairoComix Festival

The third annual Cairo International Comics Festival — or #CairoComix3 — opens tomorrow at the American University in Cairo’s Tahrir campus, featuring special guests, workshops, exhibitions, signings, a “drawing concert” and more:

The festival, which won the “Comics Guardian Award” from this year’s Mahmoud Kahil Awards, will be held over three days, September 22-24. It will feature seven main events, fourteen core artists, and many opportunities to work, learn, and buy new comics.

CairoComix also presents a number of annual prizes, including: Best Published Graphic Novel in Arabic, Best Short Comics Story, Best Printed Magazine, Best Press Comic Strip, Best Digital Comics Series, and Best Project in Progress.

According to festival organizers, “80 participants from many Arab countries sent their works to compete for CairoComix award for best comics stories with an increase of 20% over the previous two tournaments.” Many of these comics stories were, according to organizers, “specially designed to participate in the festival as if it encouraged an atmosphere of artistic production and publishing in the field of graphic storytelling, thus fulfilling some of its most important goals.”

CairoComix is also notable in having a strong track record of celebrating and rewarding the work of women writers and artists, as well as attracting an audience that’s nearly gender balanced to its events.

There are two featured exhibitions, the first of which is title “Tanablah” for the works of the late artist Mahmoud Higazi, who influenced a number of artists. The second exhibition, titled “SENDAS: Tracks, was organised by Al Fanar Fundaçion, and focuses on Spanish comics, including the work of 11 Spanish artists.

At the drawing concert, live music by Bent Al Masarwa will be combined with live drawing by celebrated Egyptian artist Doaa Adel.

Participating artists include Tunisian comics artist Seif Eddine Nechi; Egyptian writer-artist Mohamed Salah; Lebanese comics artists Karen Keyrouz and Rawand Issa, both from the Zeez collective; Libyan comics artist Abdullah Hadia; celebrated Lebanese comics artist and Samandal co-founder Lena Merhej; and French artist Golo.