Monday 30 January 2017

Asylum Seekers’ Comics Describe Escape, Hope and Longing

The participants were all keen to go through their comics in the review sessions. 
Grassroot comics workshops were held during 2016-2017 in Finnish reception centers in Helsinki, Kontiolahti and Lieksa. As a result of this, the asylum seekers’ comics exhibition Illustrating Me starts its tour on the 30th of January 2017 in Porvoo as a part of the Comics Festival Å-fest. On the same day the exhibition opens in the web (see web address below).

The comic exhibition brings up asylum seekers’ personal stories and experiences. They describe situation in their home countries, their journey to Europe, everyday life in Finland and share their future dreams. For many of the participants the comics are a first attempt to visually express the turning points of their lives.

The idea of the asylum seekers’ comic workshops came up in summer 2015 when refugee issue was a hot topic in Finland. From summer 2016 on the associations Hei Helsinki and World Comics Finland organized 8 workshops from which 29 comics were chosen to the touring exhibition.

Many asylum seekers participating in the workshops didn’t have any experience in drawing. The new challenge was embraced with enthusiasm. The participants of the workshops came from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Iran, Gambia, Albania, Cameroon, Russia and Guinea. One of the workshops was held in a meeting of Service Civil International (KVT ry) because many asylum seekers participate in voluntary work camps in Finland.

All of the comics drawn in the workshops can be seen in the web exhibition
The touring program of the exhibition can be found on the same web page.

Posted by the Exhibition theme

by Yasser Hassan (of no nationality)
by Waad, Syria
Deep concentration at drawing her comics (above).

by Mustafa, Iraq

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Katti Ka-Batembo - more great campaign comics

Katti Ka-Batembo, comics artist and graphic designer, is our long-time cooperation partner in Tanzania. He was the founder and long-time chairman of TAPOMA (Tanzania Popular Media Association), with whom we had joint comics projects starting from 1993. 

About five years ago Katti suffered a stroke, which left his right arm unusable. He has, however, managed to regain his drawing ability with the innovative use of an iPad and the Procreate program. To see how he works, check out Katti's YouTube video on:

Last year Katti was commissioned to make a story for the United Nations UNFPA Tanzania Program. The story is about a young girl, Subira, who becomes pregnant and has to leave school. The 20-page story was printed in colour and widely distributed in Swahili and English.

The Subira booklet is an excellent example of how comics can be used to support a nationwide campaign on reproductive health. A vivid story can tell so much more than just a collection of facts.

Posted by Leif Packalen

Katti's contact details:

A spread from the Subira story.

The booklets, ready for distribution.

Katti also made a booklet for PLAN about child protection in the refugee camps in Western Tanzania. It was made in the Kirundi language.