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Locked in humour with caricatures

There is this poster with various caricatures of people that is being passed around on social media with this message:

“This caricature project was started during the Covid 19 lockdown period in Malaysia. Why caricatures? Because in these challenging times it is important to smile.” So I would like you to smile for the camera, capture the photo and send it to me.

“I will place that smile in a drawing for you and hope that it will make you smile when you see it. Or perhaps, there is someone you miss dearly due to distancing, and you would like to surprise him or her with a gift that will bring a smile to their face.”

Artist Komeil Zarin acknowledges the sense of negativity and depression that loom over the community during the lockdown. Komeil, who is also a refugee, realises that his friends in the refugee community, are also suffering from the confinement and struggling to make ends meet.

So he started this caricature project to give 55% of the money collected for each caricature done (full price RM180) directly to refugee families who have been affected by the COVID 19 lockdown.

Komeil, a talented Iranian painter, musician and art teacher, picked up drawing caricatures again during the early days of the Covid 19 lockdown. When an old friend sent him a song by John Prine, a singer who makes humour a main ingredient in his creative works, Komeil spontaneously drew a caricature of Prine.

Having enjoyed that exercise, he went on to draw caricatures of some close friends to bring a smile to their faces.

“And that led me to start this project of drawing caricatures – an art that I used to do when I was much younger. 

“I feel that it is important in these challenging times to have a laugh. A caricature is a way to look at ourselves and those we love with humour. Staying at home, this is a way for me to earn some money and at the same time help those who need it as we are unable to earn an income at the moment. Everyone can help in whatever small way that they can,” Komeil said.

He has been living in Kuala Lumpur as a refugee for the past 8 years. Komeil began his artistic journey as a young child painting alongside his late father who was a painter, Persian calligrapher and musician. Since then he has continuously explored words, music, mediums and styles in his search for deeper connections – with himself as well as with others.

In spite of some initial challenges, Komeil feels that KL has been a welcoming place in which to grow as an artist, and a place where he has made many good friends. It is here that he has had his debut art exhibition, followed by a second and a third exhibition. He feels that he is happiest when he can use his gifts as a contribution to others – be it through creating art, teaching or playing music.

For more information or to order a caricature, please have a look at this post:

– Contributed by Allie Li-sin Hill