Organised by the French Cultural Centre, the exhibition of works by Shujaat Ali and Jean Plantureux attracted a diverse audience as soon as it opened.

An open session was held on the first day where the two artists drew cartoons of the Iraqi elections.

The exhibition, which will run until 26 February under the title A Special Glance at the News, celebrates freedom of expression by honouring the art of caricature.

"I represent Le Monde readers only, not all the French people, but in some ways, Shujaat represents the whole Arab public view"

Plantu

The daily cartoons of Plantureux, who signs himself off as Plantu, tackle international issues by mixing irony with a deep understanding of political affairs.

In 1972, Plantureux, published his first cartoon in Le Monde, a daily newspaper that has been considered a paper of the political left since its establishment in the 1940s.

Shujaat

Shujaat Ali, who goes by the name Shujaat on his work, brings along a rich artistic experience, which began in Islamabad in 1992 while working for The News daily.

His work was hailed in his home country on a number of occasions and was awarded the prize of The Best Journalistic Cartoonist for four consecutive years. 

The exhibition attracted a large
audience from the first day

Shujaat also gained international recognition after joining Aljazeera.net in 2002, and particularly when he started drawing animated cartoons in 2004, which drew international interest and debate.

Plantu has praised Shujaat's work saying that he is a great cartoonist who brings a genuine experience of political cartoons to Aljazeera.net.

Speaking to Aljazeera.net, Plantu said: "Shujaat conveys clear political ideas and has a good talent to present them professionally."

Caricature in the Arab world

Plantu believes the art of caricature in the Arab world conveys a public view which, if studied more carefully, provides an understanding of the area more clearly.

"I represent Le Monde readers only, not all the French people, but in some ways, Shujaat represents the whole Arab public view," said Plantu.

"Shujaat's cartoons are a key to understanding the situations in the Arab world. If US President George Bush had devoted five or 10 minutes of his time to see Shujaat's cartoons on Aljazeera.net, he would realise that he had committed a big mistake by invading Iraq," Plantu added.

Plantu believes the current exhibition is an opportunity to learn more about the aspects of caricature in the Arab world.

Shujaat and Plantu draw cartoons
at the exhibition

Comparing the two artists' experiences, Plantu said: "We have two different views, but sometimes we cross paths, creating a dialogue of ideas and visions among our guests." 

However, Shujaat believes some of their work tackles the same issues, despite the differences in the two artists' age and professional experiences.

Shujaat said this exhibition is a "good opportunity to learn more about international artistic experiences, and is also a chance to create a dialogue with Western cartoonists over political and cultural issues".