Conversation / “Taking Refuge: Weaving Memory and History in Comics,” with Zeina Abirached, Rasha Chatta, and Aaron Tugendhaft

Date: Wednesday, 7 March 2019, 7 pm
Location: Cabinet, Ebersstrasse 3, Berlin (map and directions here)
FREE. No RSVP necessary.
Facebook Event
Co-presented with Bard Berlin

Please join us for a conversation between Lebanese comics artist and illustrator Zeina Abirached and scholar Rasha Chatta. Weaving family stories and childhood memories from Beirut with archival material, Abirached has achieved a unique visual aesthetic, one that experiments both with various modes of documentation in graphic form and with different ways to represent spaces of conflict and the experiences of loss. The conversation will center on the sources of inspiration behind Abirached’s work and address both earlier books, such as Le piano oriental, Je me souviens: Beyrouth, and Mourir, partir, revenir: Le jeu des hirondelles, and more recent publications. The event will be introduced by Aaron Tugendhaft.

Please note that this event will be in English.


About the Participants
Zeina Abirached is an illustrator, graphic novelist, and comics artist. She studied at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts and at the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs in Paris. Her publications include Le piano oriental (Casterman, 2015), Agatha de Beyrouth (Cambourakis, 2011), Je me souviens: Beyrouth (Cambourakis, 2009), Mourir, partir, revenir: Le jeu des hirondelles (Cambourakis, 2007), 38, rue Youssef Semaani (Cambourakis, 2006), [Beyrouth] Catharsis (Cambourakis, 2006), and, together with Mathias Enard, Prendre refuge (Casterman, 2018). She was recently awarded the “chevalier” medal of distinction of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Rasha Chatta has a PhD in Cultural, Literary, and Postcolonial Studies from SOAS, University of London, with a dissertation focusing on the theorization of contemporary Arab migrant literature. Since 2017, she has been Research Fellow at the EUME program of the Forum Transregionale Studien, where she is working on a book project on migration and Arab comics. A chapter titled “Conflicts and Migration in Lebanese Graphic Narratives” is forthcoming in The Sage Handbook of Media and Migration. Chatta is currently co-teaching a course on the contemporary visual cultures of the Middle East at Bard College Berlin.

Aaron Tugendhaft is a scholar of the ancient Middle East who teaches at Bard College Berlin. He is the editor, with Josh Ellenbogen, of Idol Anxiety (Stanford University Press, 2011) and the author of Baal and the Politics of Poetry (Routledge, 2018). His next book, The Idols of ISIS, explores the role of images in politics from ancient Assyria to the Internet today. He received his PhD from the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University in 2012.