A new kind of journalism through manga
Can you imagine telling stories about real life through comic strips? That’s what the innovative Takoua Ben Mohamed does. Born in Tunisia, she has lived in Rome since her early childhood. When she was only 14, she founded Il Fumetto Intercultura, a project that sought to open up dialogue between different cultures through the language of comics. A modern way to talk about reality through vignettes in a humorous way.
In her last book, Sotto il velo (“Under the hijab”), the author dealt with issues like racism, sexism and general prejudices, with vignettes about some of the absurd questions she has received (as why she wears the hijab), refuting some clichés (such as the idea that all Muslims are Arabs) or just satirising situations that she has to experience every day.
She shows the audience some comic strips on a screen. For example, one of them shows how she always gets half-tanned because of the hijab; another one satirises the fact that, when wearing black, she is mistaken for an ISIS member, in contrast with white girls, who look fashionable.
Takoua has suffered from racism and bullying since she was a child. Laughing, she tells us how her brother has been taken as an immigrant sometimes when he’s Italian. That’s why she wrote La rivoluzione dei gelsomini (“The Revolution of the Jasmines”), a book about her childhood, her roots and how her mother made it to Italy, which was a tough task.
Her work is free from any ideology; she even questions her own religion because of the numerous different interpretations the Koran has received. The artist just hopes that her work is useful for those suffering from the same issues that she had to deal with, and firmly believes that it can be adapted to any form of discrimination or bullying. According to her, generations are changing for the better, and are (and will be) less racist than in the past.