Born in 1957 in Multan, Feica started his schooling there, but could never take to studies. According to him, he was "only interested in drawing".
He credits his father for allowing him to pursue his dream and as soon as he passed his Matriculation exams, he simply picked up a bag and some money, and landed in Lahore. He had seen an NCA advertisement in a newspaper and armed with around 50 drawings in his portfolio, he applied for admission to the college. This was way back in 1973-74, when NCA admitted students who had cleared Matric exams.
In 1979 he joined The Muslim under Mushahid Hussain, and also started drawing for Zafar Sultani’s Ravish. He moved to Karachi to work in The Star in early 1980s.
It was at The Star that Feica’s career took off and, in his words, was “the beginning of my serious career as a cartoonist.” Feica also started freelancing with other publications like Dawn and the Herald, and teamed up with Anwar Maqsood to do cartoons for Hurriyet, the group’s Urdu newspaper. This was the time when Yousuf Lodhi – popularly known as Vai Ell – the political cartoonist par excellence also joined The Star, which was making waves despite the repression.
Feica left Star in 1986, went back to The Muslim in Islamabad, and then moved to the Frontier Post in Peshawar in 1987. There again he was joined by Vai Ell and Zahoor, who came in as an illustrator and became a cartoonist when Feica moved to Lahore in 1988.
Somewhere along the way, he morphed from Rafique to Feica (short for Rafique), asking his editor to come up with the correct spellings of ‘Feica’ which incidentally is used as a pet name in Punjab for Rafique.
Another visible change, along with his new signature, was the addition of a balding character in his caricatures. Earlier, there was just the roving crow that was an incredulous witness to the events being portrayed by Feica.
Feica became friends with an American girl there and followed her to the US, where he spent the next two-and-a half years of his life, visiting museums and art galleries, and working. The year 1992 marked the end of his US sojourn and upon his return, the late Najma Babar introduced him to the then editor of Dawn, Ahmed Ali Khan, who hired him. He has been a part of Dawn since then.
Source: Excerpts from an article published in Newsline in December 2011
The Express Tribune, January 13, 2017
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