Monday, 20 October 2014

Strong comic about an Ethiopian maid in Saudi Arabia

A detail from a page in the Almaz story

Almaz,  the story of an Ethiopian migrant worker in Saudi-Arabia was published in the BBC’s NEWS Magazine at the end of September.The story is about an Ethiopian girl, who is sent for work in Saudi Arabia and her fate as a maid in Riyad. She is maltreated, like countless other migrant workers in the Gulf. It is an important story, well told in poignant comic art. The drudgery of Almaz’ daily work is shown very skilfully in a long succession of panels. 

Check out the story from the link below and you can also download the story in a pdf-file (MB 2.8) to make a printout.

The story is the work of journalist Benjamin Dix and artist Lindsay Pollock of Positive Negatives

The duo follows a set methodology in their work. First they research the topics they would like to cover, then identify respondents, explain to them what is the intention of the publication, and then go on with the interviews and photographing. Then the stories are worked out and turned into comics. After that all the background material, the recordings, the photographs, visual source materials, reports etc are used to make a story board, then a sketch which is taken back to the respondents for comments. After editing, based on the comments, work starts on the final art. 

The methodology makes sure that the stories are truly representative and usable in education and advocacy. Read a detailed description of their methodology in this link

Dix and Pollock have completed in 2013 a comprehensive story “Meet the Somalis” for Open Society (more in our blog posting dated January 14, 2014). They are now working on story about the Sri Lankan conflict seen from the perspective of family “Vanni”. The first part: “The New Arrival: Antoni’s story” is already viewable on their website link:

Dix’ and Pollock’s way of using comics to address very complex issues, such as conflict, migration and asylum, is impressive because behind it one can sense a serious quest for truth and justice. This is political art at its best. 

(posted by Leif Packalen)

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