Very Rare Set of Five “Kem” Kimon E Marengo WW2 Islamic Propaganda Posters
“Kem” Kimon E Marengo (February 4, 1904 – November 4, 1988) was an Egyptian-born British cartoonist. Kem grew up in Alexandria, Egypt and moved to Paris in 1929 to study at the Ecole des Sciences Politiques. Kem graduated in 1931 and began to draw cartoons for newspapers, including Le Canard enchaîné, Le Petit Parisien, The Daily Herald and The Daily Telegraph.
In 1939, at the outbreak of WW2, Kem was studying at Oxford University and turned his talents to aid the Ministry of Information in London in producing over 3,000 images to assist the British war effort. Kem was tasked with countering Germany’s propaganda initiatives in Iran and he drew on the country’s rich manuscript heritage, repainting images from the Shahnameh and replacing key figures with likenesses of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin overseeing the downfall of Hitler.
Kem also worked in the French and North African sections of the Political Warfare Executive (PWE). The PWE was a clandestine propaganda organization within the Foreign Office launched in September 1941, where he ran what was known as the “Kem Unit” with the rank of LieutenantColonel. In time, Kem became an adviser to the Middle East Section and one of the members of the Arabic Committee of the PWE.
Interestingly, Kem attended the Teheran conference in 1943 between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill.
After the war, Kem was awarded the Legion d’Honneur and Croix de Guerre and also contributed political cartoons to prominent publications such as The Spectator.
Very few examples of Kems WW2 propaganda posters still survive and despite them being printed in the UK the British Library only holds a later version of these designs printed as postcards.
The set of five posters for sale, therefore, represents an excellent opportunity to acquire an extremely important and rare piece of WW2 British and Islamic history.