Mohammad Sabaneeh: drawing Palestine

collage realizzato in collaborazione con @arabista
collage realizzato in collaborazione con @arabista

There is a strong connection between the immobility in which Palestine seems trapped and the fluidity, outbreaking energy of many Palestinian voices.


In this sense, the upcoming tour of the artist Mohammad Sabaneeh gains an even more important meaning: the translation into different languages makes a literary work to sail in different contexts and reach out to different audiences.


The tour includes France and Italy and aims at promoting the recent translations of the "Power Born of Dreams": "Je ne partirai pas - mon histoire et celle de la Palestine" by the French publishing house Alifabata (translated by Marianne Babut) and "Racconto Palestina" by the Italian publishing house Mesogea (translated by Enrica Battista). This translation has been published with the support of the Palestine Museum US 


It is interesting to notice that the Arabic version has been published with the title "Ana ahbabtu al-hikaya" as a self-publishing work: as the author said, in a certainly provocative way, there is no editor for this book.


A tour into languages, we could say, and in fact the European tour of Sabaneeh will reinforce the concept of mobility, of movement, of hope brought by the graphic novel: "a vibrant homage to the spirit of the Palestinian people '' said the artist, Jo Sacco.


In this graphic novel, the main character is detained in prison. A bird, coming to the window of his cellar, becomes his reason of surviving: the bird brings him stories - a young couple blocked at the checkpoint trying to reach the hospital in Jerusalem, a mother waiting for his son after he left for school and never came back home, a father in jail who never met his daughter…

Stories that will help the prisoner to survive and that he puts down on paper. 


The space, even though reduced into the narrow walls of a cellar, becomes in this book a much wider stage where stories and characters are entailed.


Very easily the reader will associate the main character to the Palestinian population and the drawing to an act of resistance and endurance.

This work stands out for its design, created by lino cutting technique and remembering the engraving of prisoners in the cellars. The prevalence of black colour makes the white lines stand out and shows, once more, that in the darkness there is still hope and life.


Mohammad Sabaneeh, born in Jenin in 1978 and from 2022 he has collaborated with several Arab newspapers. He is part of the International Cartoon Movement and Cartoonists Rights Network International (CNRI). With "Power Born of Dreams" he was awarded with the Palestine Book Award in 2022. 


To support Mohammad Sabaneeh's tour in Italy, the publishing house Mesogea has organised a fundraising initiative.


Testo di Maria Laura Romani

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