Comic art by Hussein Amin Bikar

Hussein Amin Bikar (also written as Hussein Amin Bicar) was a prominent Egyptian artist who popularized comics in his home country. His artwork stood out because of its fine, sophisticated drawings, which made him much in demand. He holds historical significance as one of the earliest Arabic children's book illustrators. Bikar's work was read by millions and thus he influenced generations of Egyptian comics artists. He was also founder of the long-running Egyptian comics magazine Sinbad.

Bikar was born in 1913 in Alexandria and graduated from the Cairo School of Fine Arts in 1933. He was an art teacher at schools and universities for more than sixty years. He developed himself as a painter of folkloric scenes, and as a teacher in elementary and secondary schools. He also taught in Morocco at the inviation of the Moroccan government, and traveled extensively throughout Europe and Africa. Back in Egypt in 1943, he became the assistant of his former professor Ahmed Sabry, and eventually worked himself up as the chairman of the school's painting department. From 1945 on he worked for the newspaper Akhbar Al-Yom, not only as an illustrator but later also as foreign correspondent in countries like Ethiopia, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Spain. He produced illustrated reports for world circulation until 1962.

Bikar was also the founder of the children's magazine Sindibad (also written as Sinbad), of which the first issue was launched on 3 January 1952. The publication was distributed by the company Dar El Maaref and centered around the legendary literary character, Sinbad the Sailor from the fairy tale collection 'Arabian Nights'. Bikar was the magazine's main artist, together with the Italian artist Mario Morelli di Popolo, while writer Mohammed Saeed al-Arian oversaw editing. Bikar illustrated covers as well as the comic series 'Chaddad & Aouad', which he made in the tradition of the French Épinal prints.

Bikar also illustrated various children's books, beginning with Taha Hussein's 'The Stream of Days' (1943), which was the first illustrated book to be published in Egypt. He furthermore established himself through his portraits and oil paintings depicting graceful peasants, Nubian scenes or Pharaonic themes. He passed away at age 99 in 2012, only two months short of what would've been his 100th birthday.

Sindibad coverSindibad cover by Hussein Bikar

Series and books by Hussein Amin Bikar in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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