When Mehmet met Ahmed

Caught on Pinterest this morning:

(#1) “Night Romance” by the anonymous artist Queer Habibi (available as a postcard, or in several other forms)

Which led me to a cornucopia of works by Queer Habibi, including many of men kissing (a recurrent theme for the artist, a personal pleasure for me) — two of them sampled here:


(#3) haramforbidden or proscribed by Islamic law’

About Queer Habibi. On the them. site, “This Anonymous Instagram Artist Paints a Hidden Queer Arab World: Queer Habibi’s art depicts everyday LGBTQ+ life in a region of the world where being openly queer is incredibly dangerous” by Bo Hanna on 6/6/18:

At first blush, the Instagram account of Queer Habibi isn’t so radical, or at least it shouldn’t be. There, the anonymous Arab artist posts illustrations and animations of queer people from the Middle East and North Africa being, well, queer. Men exchange flirtatious glances in a restaurant; women embrace on a car ride home. A man bearing a shirt reading “Baghdaddy” teases the viewer with his midriff. The artist’s subjects share embraces, kisses, and mundane moments of everyday LGBTQ+ life. [AZ: these include men in bed together and lots of men kissing, but also guys cruising for sex on the street, guys watching gay porn, men in drag, queerfolk at Pride parades, and more] But these scenes are far from everyday in a region of the world where being openly queer is incredibly dangerous, and the visibility and hope his scenes offer have resonated with people all over the world.

Founded just four months ago, Queer Habibi’s account has already garnered over 12,000 followers, and despite some minor threats from conservatives living in the region, he’s seen thousands of people share and buy his work online. His scenes are inspired by his own life and the lives of his followers; they depict locations across the Arab world, like Cairo, Amman, and Ramallah, but he draws particular inspiration from Beirut, the home of one of the biggest creative movements fighting for LGBTQ+ rights in the region. [AZ: I have seen his drawings set in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Palestine, and Pakisan]

Queer Habibi is anonymous for his own safety, but he was kind enough to chat with them. about responses he’s seen to his work, what queer art means to LGBTQ+ people from the Arab world, and the state of queer relations in the Middle East/North Africa region. [AZ: the interview follows on the them. site]

And a note from Queer Habibi about his stuff for sale:

100% of money earned from selling my postcards and posters will be directed to  @ImpactLebanon  fund (“an initiative incubator for driven Lebanese around the world”) and LGBTQ+ communities of Lebanon.

[Omitted from original posting: Arabic habibi ‘my love, my dear, my darling’, used as a pet name for friends, significant others, or family members]


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