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Comic book sketches struggles, hopes of emerging local artists

‘Comicipate’ aims at promoting peace, tolerance and social cohesion through comics

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Feb 08,2018 - Last updated at Feb 08,2018

The Spanish embassy in Amman on Wednesday presented 'Y’ani. In the name of peace', a comic book produced by young, emerging local artists through a workshop titled 'Comicipate' (Collage by Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto)

AMMAN — The Spanish embassy in Amman on Wednesday presented “Y’ani. In the name of peace”, a comic book produced by young, emerging local artists through a workshop titled “Comicipate”.

Financed by the Spanish Cooperation in Jordan and organised in partnership with the local NGO I-Dare, “Comicipate” is an initiative aimed at promoting peace, tolerance and social cohesion through comics, while fostering the work of young artists, according to a statement by the Spanish embassy.  

Led by comics specialists Yorgos Konstantinou and Melandros Ganas, the workshop was followed by an exhibition of the works open to the public at Instituto Cervantes in Amman.  

All art pieces were collected, edited and published in the volume “Y’ani. In the name of peace”, bringing together the views of local artists on the concepts of tolerance and peace.

“My comic is about the struggle that any Syrian person goes through anywhere in the world,” artist Sara Yousef told The Jordan Times, expressing that “we  [the Syrians] try to convince ourselves that we are free, but having a Syrian passport deprives us from driving or traveling — we are not-so-free!”

A similar message is delivered to the reader by Syrian artist Alnuha Alsharu, who put the story of her own family on paper to raise awareness about “what borders and visas can do to a family”.

“Year after year I’ve been seeing each of my sisters get married and flee to another country in search of a better life, and the problem is that once they do that, they can never be back,” the artist said, sharing her dream “of a world without borders where we can fly freely to meet my family again”.

The concept of peace is explored by artist Sara Kilani, who worked on different perspectives on the dove, an international symbol of peace. 

“I wanted to show readers the views that different people can have about peace, finishing with the dove itself to show the disparity between how people look at it and how they really treat it.”

For his part, artist Khaled Nahar built on the question he encounters on a daily basis: “So where are you really from?”

“I am Jordanian but I have Palestinian ancestors, and every time I get asked the question, I can’t get away with it by saying that I am from here,” Nahar told The Jordan Times, expressing that “it makes me feel like an outsider, and I dream of one where it doesn’t matter where we come from”.

During the presentation of the comic book, deputy head of mission at the Spanish embassy Thomas Lopes referred to the local partners noting that “our aim now is to give continuity to this project”, adding that “we already achieved the most difficult step, which is finding the artists and letting them express their talent in this very wonderful collective work”.

For her part, I-Dare coordinator Suha Ayyash expressed her delight while holding the copy of the comic book for its first time, elaborating on the origins of the “Comicipate” workshop back in 2011 and the outcome. 

“The lesson that I have learned is that the results are good when you are patient, and we will continue to grow the project,” Ayyash said. 

 

“Comics are a powerful medium and are meant for carrying eternal messages,” she added, expressing that “we [I-Dare] would like to revive the glory of purposeful content as its once was, reflecting what ordinary people think and feel in their daily life”.

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