Ahmed Falah is an Iraqi artist, editorial cartoonist, graphic designer, and human rights defender. One of Iraq’s most influential and controversial cartoonists, he worked as a painter in Baghdad until 2014, when he had to flee the country due to threats on his life. Known for his sarcastic illustrations of Iraqi politicians and clergymen alike, Falah’s caricatures have appeared at most large demonstrations in Iraq.
Falah started his career in 2010, working as a cartoonist, illustrator and designer in several publishing houses, newspapers and private businesses. In the course of his career as a cartoonist and artist, Falah has worked as a designer and illustrator for The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights and a consultant and service provider for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. He worked as an illustrator and cartoonist for an online news agency that assigned a page for his daily cartoons between 2016 and 2017.
Many online and print newspapers and magazines, like AlAraby and Jadaliyya, have published articles and interviews on Falah’s artistic career and his influence on the Iraqi cartoonist movement. Due to the political nature of his cartoon and the threats Falah received, some Iraqi publications were too afraid to publish Falah’s work. Falah then turned to sharing his cartoons on Facebook, and later Instagram, where he has built a considerable following.
In 2020, Falah received Norwegian PEN’s Ossietzky Prize alongside cartoonist Finn Graff and Siri Dokken, on behalf of all Norwegian cartoonists’ outstanding efforts for freedom of expression. In 2021, he received a Fritt Ord scholarship and has begun to create cartoons focused on Norwegian themes.
In 2019, Falah was welcomed as an ICORN artist in residence in the Norwegian city of Drøbak with the support of the city’s municipality and the Norwegian Cartoonist Gallery (Avistegnernes hus). To learn more about his work, you can follow him on Instagram, Twitter at @ahmed_aljaffal and on Facebook.