art of resistance, Egypt

Fresh and graphic: The apartment in Bab el-Louk.

When was the last time you read a graphic novel from the Arab world?

It was probably some time ago, so here is something fresh and original demanding attention. It’s called The apartment in Bab elLoukand it is a great collaboration by Donia Maher , Ganzeer and Ahmed Nady.

Donia is an Egyptian artist and writer. Ganzeer has been a graphic designer since 2005, and involved in contemporary art since 2007 with a variety of exhibitions between Egypt, Germany, Holland, Poland, Italy, Brazil, USA, Emirates, and Jordan.

The apartment in Bab el-Louk is being translated to English by Elisabeth Jaquette. She’s been translating Arabic for a while now, working on many projects, from Jadaliyya, to the Palestine Festival of Literature.

Bab El-Louk is a neighborhood in downtown Cairo, a two-minute walk from Tahrir Square, where many young artists and rabble-rousers, including Ahmad Nady, live. It’s also home to some of Cairo’s finest cafes and dingiest bars.

Here are some photos, to get you excited about the story (the English excerpt is translated by Jaquette and lettered by Salma Shamel).

“When you move in the apartment in Bab el-Louk, you’ll feel like you’ve emigrated to another country, but for all the people you meet there, you won’t really know anyone.”

Letterhead-draft2

Letterhead-draft2

 

“Outside your window, Cairo’s nooks and cronnies are lonely and forsakem, like a deserted crime scene. Distant lights reveal themselves to you furtivaley, never coming too close.”

Letterhead-draft2

Letterhead-draft2

 

“Sometimes, you’ll wake up in the apartment in Bab el-Louk to repeated cries:

ha ha ha ha ha ha”

Letterhead-draft2© Donia Maher and Ganzeer. Translation © 2014 by Elisabeth Jaquette. English lettering by Salma Shamel

For more on this lovely novella, go to Words without borders, and check out the interview with Ganzeer on Arablit.

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