The artist was present, every day of the week, 1985, in that small suburban café in the dreary industrial town of Oberhausen, Germany. A busy place filled with the rattling of dishes, chitchat and gossip, where the Iranian cartoonist in exile used to spend most of his mornings and afternoons working and looking for inspiration, connecting with the people. A delicate, quiet and handsome man in his forties, not fitting in, not from this world, I thought, watching him over the rim of my lunchbreak cup of coffee.
From his table by the window he observed both, the townspeople rushing by outside, following their daily routines and the banalities of life unfolding inside, people laughing and fighting, joining and splitting up, some on their own, lost in thoughts, sitting, reading silently. It was a time when people were not being absorbed by their electronic devices, no smartphones and laptops were to be seen, everybody was actually there in the room, present in the moment.
Kambiz told me he had studied fine arts and used to make paintings. So why now then only a few lines, asked I, the young woman, gullibly, sipping my coffee, casually looking at the drawing in front of us. Little did I know – and so much did I learn from him during the following weeks and months in that little café listening to his soft, quiet voice talking about art and beauty, about visual brevity and the power of simplicity.
Very soon I not only saw the subtle humor but also began to feel the deep poetry in his uniquely soft black and white drawings and cartoons. They made me smile, they made me think. Though Kambiz didn´t use any language, I was never quite sure whether I was actually looking at drawings or at beautiful poems. Before my eyes the characters, brought out in fine exact lines, turned into human figures, speaking a thousand words, conveying feelings and dreams that resonated deeply with me. These fine minimalist pieces of art said it all with just a few lines…


Kambiz Derambakhsh was born in 1942 in Shiraz. He is one of Iran´s most prominent caricaturists. His work has been exhibited all over the world and printed in many newspapers and magazines such as Die Zeit, Le Monde and The New York Times.
He has won many international awards and published several books. His latest book “Cats and Birds”, recently published by Karnameh Publications in Tehran, contains a collection of paintings, drawings and graphic designs showing his interest in animals.
On his Instagram account Kambiz shares a collection of his cartoons on coronavirus.

Untitled, Kambiz Derambahksh,
Photograph of Kambiz Derambahksh,
Kambiz Derambahksh on Instagram,

Tehran Studio,