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Comics Generation in Iraq

The comic scene in Iraq is now a reality. In a few years since the beginning of a pioneering work, Iraqi cartoonists have grown in quality and quantity and have made themselves known internationally and nationally.

In June 2022 Claudio Calia cartoonist from Padua who from the beginning supported the evolution of comics in Iraq went to Sulaimanhya. An intense visit, after two years in which the difficulties of movement due to Covid 19 had prevented live contacts with Iraqi cartoonists even if online collaborations had never stopped.
In the two weeks spent in the lively town of Iraqi Kurdistan, after animating a Comic Workshop at the first edition of Walking camp - Art Trip Festival, organized by Walking Arts NGO which has always supported comics in Iraq, the Italian cartoonist participated in the final discussion on the release of the first Iraqi Comic Magazine.

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Iraq 2022 - Laboratorio di fumetto

The first issue of the Magazine will be in three languages, Arabic, Kurdish and English and is dedicated in an anthological way to the concept of the city. It will host comics and speeches by cartoonists who work in Iraq and who have initiated important international collaborations. It will be printed and circulated free of charge throughout the country. An online site will be linked to the Magazine which will allow a broad vision both locally and internationally.
The title of the Magazine Paia is already a program it means let's go.

It is an important bet to affirm the strength of the language of comics.

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Iraq 2022 - Laboratorio fumetti

But what are the ingredients that have been mixed to make this printed cocktail?

First ingredient: young, girls in the front row, who have been able with tenacity to transform their passion into a path of constant growth.

Second ingredient: a collective first Karge Comics and today PAIA, animated by people like Shirwan Can, cartoonist of which in Italy he was published by Oblò APS the graphic novel Ultima donna. His commitment has led to the fact that a graphic novel course is active at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sulaimanhya.

Third ingredient: the fact that a "provincial cartoonist", like Claudio Calia likes to define himself, he believed, supported and supported, together to others at an international level, the possibility that even in Iraq comics are a well-rounded language, with enormous communicative power.

Fourth ingredient: the undeniable creative force that crosses a country profoundly marked by old and new conflicts. In a country where personal and collective precariousness is the sign of reality, but where, despite a thousand difficulties, men and women continue to live, design, create with art, challenging a destiny that would only want them to be passive spectators in a present decided by old and new local, national and international powers.

Blend these four ingredients and the resulting cocktail is powerful.

It tastes of landscapes illuminated by the dazzling sun, of the air made unbreathable by the increasingly frequent sandstorms due to climate change, of the teeming cities, of the villages frozen in time, of the experience marked by the difficulties and dramas of conflicts, of the past and of the present that come together in illustrated tables that tell the story of today's Iraq but also of our collective globalized existence.

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Iraq 2022 - Pubblicazioni di fumetti

All that remains is to wait shortly for the publication of the Magazine and browse the stories, waiting for the new stages of the Comics journey in Iraq.

There are so many ideas for the future: telling oral stories of Iraq in comics, (oral stories is the way in which local events are handed down) expanding the use of comics in various fields by specialized publications, such as illustration of museum catalogs and other productions, to continue the local promotional workshops of comics accompanied by small publications and so on.

Many international collaborations undertaken in a global vision, which allows local mobilizations to communicate, such as the defense of water or the enlargement of rights with other experiences from all over the world, not just looking at what is called "the western world".

One thing is clear: the sequence has begun, the comics are on the way.

While waiting, let's enjoy the story from Sulaimahya published by Claudio Calia in Smoking Cat Newletter of comic stories.

Cover photo taken from:
Between two rivers
Graphic novel project that tells a series of stories and questions about identity, experienced by a woman artist in Iraq.

Story and illustration: Rooz Mohammed.M
Sory editor and storytelling: Hawraz Mohammed - Ranj Mustafa
English translator: Halo Fariq, Hanna Fox
Abarbic translator: Sardar Talabany
Betwen Two Rivers was chosen and funded by Goethe-Institut for Spotlight Iraq project 2020
More info:

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Rooz Mohammed - Fumettista e autrice di Between the rivers