Beirut To Host First Annual Symposium on Arabic Comics; Mahmoud Kahil Award Winners To Be Announced

On the heels of the first annual CairoComix festival, the American University of Beirut will host its first annual Symposium on Arabic Comics on Nov. 16, also celebrating the winners of the new Mahmoud Kahil Award:

Image from the AUB website.
Image from the AUB website.

As Jonathan Guyer writes at Oum Cartoon, the event is framed around “personal narratives and memoir,” and brings together comic artists from Egypt, France, Lebanon, Palestine, and the US. Winners of the Mahmoud Kahil Award will also be announced; the new award promises to “recognize great Arab talents in the field of comics, editorial cartoons and illustration.”

According to the award’s Facebook page, the award received more than 750 submissions from Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan, Sudan, Qatar, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Morocco, and Algeria. You can also follow @KahilAward for updates.

Comix events are set to begin at 11 a.m. in Dar Al Handasah Shair and Partners Architecture Lecture Hall. The schedule from the AUB:

1. Personal narrative of war: Reshaping of an identity
GEORGE KHOURY JAD | Comics and Animation Artist, writer and critic
George Khoury (JAD), Comics Artist, Comics critic and Animator since the 80s. Lecturer at the Lebanese American University in digital media, and head of the Animation Department at Future Television since its launch in 1993. His artworks and movies have been featured in many local and international instances and festivals. His Comics “Shahrazad” is acquired by The National Museum of Comics in (France/Angoûlème). Co-founder of the “Lebanese Syndicate of Professional Graphic Designers, Illustrators and Animators”, he earned several awards for his artwork and filmography. Author of the “History of Arabic Comics” in addition to several essays and articles related to Art, Comics and Animation.

2. Making Death Visible: War in Lebanese Graphic Memoir
NADIM DAMLOUJI | Tintintologist
Nadim Damluji researches and writes about the history of Arab comics. As a 2010 Thomas J. Watson Fellow, he traced the colonial impact of Hergé’s The Adventures of Tintin by retracing Tintin’s footsteps through the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Nadim has lectured and published his work on comics throughout the United States and Middle East. In 2015, he co-curated the exhibit “Arab Comics: 90 Years of Popular Visual Culture” based on his work for Brown University. Currently, Nadim is completing a Juris Doctorate at the University of Washington in Seattle with a focus on international business and human rights.

3. How I became a Lebanese Comics Artist
LENA MERHEJ, PhD in visual studies | Comics artist and teacher??
Lena Merhej (PhD) is a visual storyteller and an expert in graphic narratives in the interdisciplinary field of visual studies, narratology, and computer science. She previously taught at the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University, and gave various workshops on animation, illustration and comic books. Her animation Drawing the War (2002), her comic book Another year (2009), and her book Mraba we Laban (Yogurt and Jam, 2011) received international awards. She is a co-founder and contributing member of the comics magazine Samandal.

4. The Arab of the Future, or the Future of Arab Comics
JONATHAN GUYER  Fellow, Institute of Current World Affairs; Blogger, Oum Cartoon.
Jonathan Guyer is an Institute of Current World Affairs fellow focusing on the intersection of art, mass media, and satire in the Middle East and North Africa. He has been living in Egypt since 2012, where he is a contributing editor of the Cairo Review of Global Affairs, a policy journal published by the American University in Cairo. From 2012 to 2013, he served as a Fulbright fellow researching political cartoons in Egypt. A frequent analyst on Public Radio International and France 24, he has contributed to Guernica, The New Yorker, The Paris Review Daily, New York Magazine, Harvard University’s Nieman Reports, The Guardian, Jadaliyya, Mada Masr, and others. His research on Egyptian satire has been cited by the Associated Press, CNN, The Economist, New Statesman, Reuters, and TIME, among other international news outlets. He blogs about Arabic comics and caricature at Oum Cartoon:

5. Preserving Palestinian History Through Graphic Memoir
LEILA ABDOUL RAZZAK | Author and Comics artist
Leila is a Chicago-based, Palestinian author, artist, and organizer. She graduated from DePaul University in 2015 with a BFA in Theatre Arts and a BA in Arabic Studies. She has been involved in both national and local community organizing around the issue of Palestine since 2011. Leila was a participant in the 2015 Palestine Festival of Literature. Her debut graphic novel, Baddawi, was recently shortlisted for the Palestine Book Awards.

6. Testifying, a new form of personal narrative in Comics
OLIVIER KOCH | Research professor, member of LabSic (Université Paris 13) & research associate at the IRMC (Tunisia).
Olivier Koch is a researcher in media studies and a professor at Galatasaray University. He is a member of LabSic (Université Paris 13) and research associate at the IRMC (Tunis). He previously taught at the University Paris 13, the University Paris 2 and Sciences-Po Paris. Part of his work focuses on memory and testimony issues.

7. In the backstage of an Egyptian graphic novel-metro
MAGDY EL SHAFEE | Comics artist – president of CairoComix festival
Egyptian award-winning comics writer & illustrator. In 2007 he won the best African comics (Afro-Mediterranean) with Author Wael Saad. In 2008, he released “Metro”, contemporary Egyptian graphic novel that made a buzz on the comics scene in Egypt. Translated to Italian, German and English, and mentioned in “1001 Comics you must read before you die” book released in 2012. He founded (ElDoshma) comics magazine-2012, and publishes in Zenith (German) and World War 3-illustrated  (USA).

MOHAMAD SHENNAWY |Egypt| Comics artist, founder of 9th Art Magazine and Co founder of TOKTOK Magazine
Born in Cairo 1978, Shennawy studied applied arts, and has been since working in advertising. Since early in 2011 he founded with 5 other artists the comics magazine for adults TokTok, and continues to work as a freelance artist, graphic designer and manager of The 9th Art Foundation in Cairo.