Kifah Al Reefi, also known as Kifah Mahmoud, was born in Basrah (Iraq) in 1962. He studied at the Art Academy of Baghdad from 1980 to 1985. He began working as a cartoonist for Iraqi newspapers in 1982-83, and for the magazine Alif-Ba in 1984. He became the editorial cartoonist for the daily newspaper Al Jumhuriya in 1988. Between 1988 and 1992 he also worked for the weekly Al Muharer newspaper in Paris.
Al Reefi fled from Iraq following the local uprisings that arose after Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait in 1991. He first went to Amman (Jordan), where he worked for the weekly newspapers Shihan, Al Ahaly and Ad Dustour. He has lived and worked in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, since 1994. Besides his newspaper work he has been active in painting, poster designing, drawing and book illustrating.