Comic art for Samir by Bhiga

Bhiga is a female Egyptian comics artist of Armenian origin. She was born in Caïro as Bahiga Thomassian (also written as "Jija Tomasyan") and studied at the Italian academy of art. She worked at Egyptian Great Publishing and Dar El Hilal as early as 1957. At age 15 she was the youngest artist in the comics weekly Samir. Her best known character for this magazine was 'Mazloum', a waiter who constantly has to endure the antics of the naughty children in his master's house. Another well known series was 'Wa TahTah', which starred two young boys. Bhiga often featured the children on her cover illustrations, usually dressing them in different folkloric costumes. All in all, Bhiga has illustated nearly 150 covers for Samir magazine.

Cover art by BhigaCover art by Bhiga

In 1960 Bhiga moved to Lebanon, where she drew for her own children's magazine Bisat al rih ("Flying Carpet"). She also made comics for Dar El Sayyad's new daily supplement Al-Anwar, which aimed at a juvenile audience. As the only female cartoonist in the Middle East she naturally stood out among her colleagues. In 1965 she was invited by the American embassy to meet members of huge newspaper concerns in Washington D.C., New York City and Los Angeles. She stayed in California and was active as an advertising artist for Walt Disney, Hanna-Barbera and Universal Studios for more than 22 years. As a gifted caricaturist and oil painter she frequently made portraits of famous politicians and Hollywood celebrities. Her work has often been exhibited. Since 1987 she has been a member of the Westlake Athletic Club in California.


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