Zeina Abirached

Born in Lebanon in the midst of the civil war, Zeina Abirached was admitted to the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts at a young age and that is where she started to develop her talent for writing comics. In an interview with "Le Figaro", she revealed how her mother, during the darkest moments of the war, raised her amid stories and imagination to relieve tension and distract her from the devastation that surrounded the family home. This powerful personal experience became the essence of her art. She created her first comic in 2001, in Paris, in the period in which her studies in commercial design lent an innovative touch to her black and white drawings. She then published "Mourir, partir, revenir Le jeu des hirondelles", a picture book about two children waiting for their parents' return on an ordinary war-time night. Memories of a battered city and pieces of childhood stolen by violence also appear in "Je me souviens - Beyrouth", while the power of art and language are examined in "Le Piano oriental", a sumptuous graphic novel based on the true story of Abdallah Kamanja, a musician who tried to build a piano that can play quarter tones, which are typical of Middle Eastern music. In parallel, and in a discontinuous manner, the story examines the life of Zeina herself, divided between Paris and her city of birth, showing how many invisible bridges exist between the West and the East.

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