Iranian artist Hadi Asadi has beaten hundreds of other contestants to win first place in a “Trumpism” cartoon contest held in Tehran — his winning caricature depicting President Trump as a flame-haired man wearing a suit made of dollar bills, drooling onto a pile of books.
The competition, called the International Trumpism Cartoon and Caricature Contest, was announced last month. It was organized by a group that has also organized cartoon contests on themes such as the Islamic State and the Holocaust (the group says the latter was designed to highlight double standards on free speech).
“Trump’s behavior clearly sets out Iran’s reasons to distrust the U.S.; consequently, we decided to use art’s capacity for displaying the behavior,” organizer Ali-Asghar Jafari told reporters at the weekend. “Aside from his personal characteristics, Trump has also posed different challenges to the world and treats Iran and the Islamic world unconventionally in particular.”
Asadi received $1,500 in prize money on Monday. He told the Associated Press that he wanted to show the “money-mindedness and warmonger nature” of the U.S. president. Asadi’s Facebook page suggests that he created the artwork last year — and that he has produced numerous other similar caricatures over recent years, often of celebrities.
Organizers claim that artists from 75 countries took part in the contest, where 1,600 artworks were considered — including four from the United States. Many of the cartoons compared Trump to Hitler — a deliberate theme at the event, which used a logo based on the Nazi emblem.
Mocking and satirizing U.S. leaders has long been an officially sanctioned pastime in post-revolution Iran — part of a broader movement that includes annual protests outside the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Although these protests have generally grown less enthusiastic in recent years, Trump’s fierce anti-Iran rhetoric seems to have reignited a desire to ridicule American leaders.
The exhibition accompanying the “Trumpism” cartoon contest opened July 3 — the day before America’s Independence Day and the 29th anniversary of the day a U.S. Navy ship fired two surface-to-air missiles that hit an Iranian plane, killing all 290 passengers and crew members on board. The exhibition is due to remain open for a week, with a selection of the artworks to be showcased afterward in 11 other countries, according to organizers.
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Correction: This story originally stated that Iran Air Flight 655 was shot down by a fighter jet.