Launching our Art program

Kawaakibi Foundation announces the recruitment of Khalid Albaih and Ramy Essam, as co-directors of our upcoming Arts Program.

Image of Khalid Albaih and Ramy Essam

The arts program will work with artists in authoritarian and post-revolutionary contexts, to strengthen free expression and the public sphere, build cultural narratives in support of movements of dignity, and harness the power of art in dissent, social change and psychological healing.

Khalid Albaih is a Sudanese artist and political cartoonist who became highly-prominent with the MENA revolutions in 2011, with his works appearing as graffiti and posters across the MENA region. He was born in Romania and raised in Doha, Qatar, and is the creator of the satirical political cartoon series “Khartoon!” - a word play on cartoon and Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Khalid was the inaugural Soros Art Fellow as well as Artist's At Risk inaugural Freedom Fellow. Besides his two books, KHARTOON! and Sudan Retold, Khalid's political cartoons and political commentary on current affairs have been widely published. He was named 4th on the list of the best cartoonists in the world by The Independent in 2017.

Ramy Essam is an Egyptian rock musician and social justice activist dubbed "the voice of the revolution". During the height of the uprising, he performed in front of hundreds of thousands of people in Tahrir Square, and his song Irhal (demanding the resignation of Hosni Mubarak) was listed as 3rd Song That Changed History by Time Out Magazine. Ramy was arrested and tortured for his music, his songs were banned, and he was forbidden from performing publicly. He currently lives in exile in Finland.

The art program recently supported the production of two songs by Ramy Essam - Mafi Mafi, a challenge to the current ruling class in Lebanon and a stand in solidarity with the Lebanese uprising, and Lagl Tentesri, a tribute to human rights defenders with lyrics written by Ahmad Douma, an activist currently serving a 15-year sentence in Egypt.

Kawaakibi Foundation is registered in Norway under the organization number 918 749 284. Find out more, donate and join our mailing list at, or send enquiries to