Photo: 2016, © Eddy Mottaz
Chappatte started drawing for the International Herald Tribune in 2001, before transitioning to The New York Times. Earlier in his career, he contributed to The New York Times Book Review and created a comic strip for Newsweek International called “Rob the Cybernaut.”
In 2011 and 2015, Chappatte received the Overseas Press Club of America’s Thomas Nast Award for best cartoons on international affairs. He is the only non-American to have won this prize.
Along his career, Chappatte has developed comics journalism in print, on the web and on TV. Stories include the war in Gaza (2009), the slums of Nairobi (2010), gang violence in Central America (2012), k-pop in South Korea (2013). In 2016, with the help of his wife the journalist Anne-Frédérique Widmann, he created “Inside Death Row”, a five-part graphic journalism series for The New York Times – the first time the NYT published this form of graphic journalism.
This work came from a larger project by Chappatte and Widmann aimed at fostering a conversation on capital punishment: “Windows on Death Row”, an art exhibition bringing together works from U.S. editorial cartoonists and contributions by death row inmates, who were invited to illustrate the reality of isolation. For this project, the couple talked to more than 20 prisoners and interviewed a dozen of them in four maximum-security prisons around the country. The exhibition opened in Los Angeles in 2015 and has been touring since.
Since 2003, Chappatte has collaborated with editorial cartoonists in conflict-ridden countries with the goal of promoting dialogue through cartooning. These projects, called “Crossed Pens” focused on Serbia, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Kenya and Guatemala. He described this work in a TED talk in 2010.
He also co-founded with French cartoonist Plantu the Geneva-based “Cartooning for Peace” foundation, whose honorary chairman is Kofi Annan. Every two years, the Swiss foundation awards an international prize recognizing a cartoonist for both his talent and his courage. In September 2016, it organized a Beethoven symphony in cartoons in Geneva concert hall.
Mr. Chappatte was born in 1967 in Pakistan to a Lebanese mother and a Swiss father. He was raised in Singapore and Geneva, and lived in New York and Los Angeles. He is now based in Geneva with his wife and their three sons.