Amani al-Ali: The Girl Who Broke With Syrian Customs and Tradition

Published August 6th, 2019 - 06:28 GMT

Syria, cartoonist Amani al-Ali takes her pen to get across what others struggle to say.

Idlib, a jihadist-run region of three million people, has come under increasing bombardment by the regime and its Russian ally since late April despite a months-old truce deal.

Through her cartoons, Ali has boldly challenged traditions to comment on life in the anti-regime bastion, and to condemn seeming international indifference to civilian deaths.

The sketches are etched out in black and white with splashes of red, colours the artist says are inspired by life in the opposition stronghold.

Though her cartoons have now been exhibited as far away as the Netherlands and United Kingdom, Ali had to study drawing on the sly growing up, because her father forbade it.

Before the civil war erupted in 2011, Ali worked as an art teacher at a private school in Idlib so she could "be close to the field that I love".

She said her work earned her both fans and enemies and has a new exhibition in France. She may soon showcase her work in neighbouring Turkey.

Though she is unlikely to attend either without the necessary visa to travel, she hopes both will help to bust stereotypes about women in northwest Syria.

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This picture taken on June 16, 2019, shows various illustrations by Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province.  Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

This picture taken on June 16, 2019, shows various illustrations by Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

In war-torn northwest Syria, cartoonist Amani al-Ali takes her pen to the screen to sketch life in the embattled opposition bastion of Idlib. Through her cartoons, Ali has boldly challenged traditions to comment on life in the anti-regime bastion, and to condemn seeming international indifference to civilian deaths. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

In war-torn northwest Syria, cartoonist Amani al-Ali takes her pen to the screen to sketch life in the embattled opposition bastion of Idlib. Through her cartoons, Ali has boldly challenged traditions to comment on life in the anti-regime bastion, and to condemn seeming international indifference to civilian deaths. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali draws an illustration on a digital tablet device in her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali draws an illustration on a digital tablet device in her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

Syrian cartoonist Amani al-Ali sketches a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad in her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province.  Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

Syrian cartoonist Amani al-Ali sketches a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad in her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

This picture shows illustrations by Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province, including a drawing of a skull and crossbones with a caption below reading in Arabic "Syria welcomes you", and another of a woman being pulled from four sides by different men.  Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

This picture shows illustrations by Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province, including a drawing of a skull and crossbones with a caption below reading in Arabic "Syria welcomes you", and another of a woman being pulled from four sides by different men. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

Through her cartoons, Ali has boldly challenged traditions to comment on life in the anti-regime bastion, and to condemn seeming international indifference to civilian deaths. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

Through her cartoons, Ali has boldly challenged traditions to comment on life in the anti-regime bastion, and to condemn seeming international indifference to civilian deaths. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali shows one of drawings, depicting a naked President Bashar al-Assad covering his lower torso with a chemical weapons hazard symbol, at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali shows one of drawings, depicting a naked President Bashar al-Assad covering his lower torso with a chemical weapons hazard symbol, at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

In war-torn northwest Syria, cartoonist Amani al-Ali takes her pen to the screen to sketch life in the embattled opposition bastion of Idlib.  Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

In war-torn northwest Syria, cartoonist Amani al-Ali takes her pen to the screen to sketch life in the embattled opposition bastion of Idlib. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP

This picture taken on June 16, 2019, shows various illustrations by Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province.  Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
In war-torn northwest Syria, cartoonist Amani al-Ali takes her pen to the screen to sketch life in the embattled opposition bastion of Idlib. Through her cartoons, Ali has boldly challenged traditions to comment on life in the anti-regime bastion, and to condemn seeming international indifference to civilian deaths. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali draws an illustration on a digital tablet device in her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
Syrian cartoonist Amani al-Ali sketches a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad in her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province.  Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
This picture shows illustrations by Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province, including a drawing of a skull and crossbones with a caption below reading in Arabic "Syria welcomes you", and another of a woman being pulled from four sides by different men.  Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
Through her cartoons, Ali has boldly challenged traditions to comment on life in the anti-regime bastion, and to condemn seeming international indifference to civilian deaths. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali shows one of drawings, depicting a naked President Bashar al-Assad covering his lower torso with a chemical weapons hazard symbol, at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
In war-torn northwest Syria, cartoonist Amani al-Ali takes her pen to the screen to sketch life in the embattled opposition bastion of Idlib.  Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
This picture taken on June 16, 2019, shows various illustrations by Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province.  Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
This picture taken on June 16, 2019, shows various illustrations by Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
In war-torn northwest Syria, cartoonist Amani al-Ali takes her pen to the screen to sketch life in the embattled opposition bastion of Idlib. Through her cartoons, Ali has boldly challenged traditions to comment on life in the anti-regime bastion, and to condemn seeming international indifference to civilian deaths. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
In war-torn northwest Syria, cartoonist Amani al-Ali takes her pen to the screen to sketch life in the embattled opposition bastion of Idlib. Through her cartoons, Ali has boldly challenged traditions to comment on life in the anti-regime bastion, and to condemn seeming international indifference to civilian deaths. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali draws an illustration on a digital tablet device in her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali draws an illustration on a digital tablet device in her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
Syrian cartoonist Amani al-Ali sketches a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad in her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province.  Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
Syrian cartoonist Amani al-Ali sketches a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad in her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
This picture shows illustrations by Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province, including a drawing of a skull and crossbones with a caption below reading in Arabic "Syria welcomes you", and another of a woman being pulled from four sides by different men.  Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
This picture shows illustrations by Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province, including a drawing of a skull and crossbones with a caption below reading in Arabic "Syria welcomes you", and another of a woman being pulled from four sides by different men. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
Through her cartoons, Ali has boldly challenged traditions to comment on life in the anti-regime bastion, and to condemn seeming international indifference to civilian deaths. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
Through her cartoons, Ali has boldly challenged traditions to comment on life in the anti-regime bastion, and to condemn seeming international indifference to civilian deaths. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali shows one of drawings, depicting a naked President Bashar al-Assad covering his lower torso with a chemical weapons hazard symbol, at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali shows one of drawings, depicting a naked President Bashar al-Assad covering his lower torso with a chemical weapons hazard symbol, at her home studio in the city of Idlib in the eponymous northwestern province Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
In war-torn northwest Syria, cartoonist Amani al-Ali takes her pen to the screen to sketch life in the embattled opposition bastion of Idlib.  Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP
In war-torn northwest Syria, cartoonist Amani al-Ali takes her pen to the screen to sketch life in the embattled opposition bastion of Idlib. Omar HAJ KADOUR / AFP