Maya Zankoul's comics


Lebanese graphic designer and illustrator Maya Zhankoul refers to her blog, Amalgam, as “a place to release the tensions created by daily hassles, or simply to tell stories of my daily life through fast illustrations.” She illustrates her thoughts, reflections and experiences from her life, often communicating important social issues. In an interview with us, she says: “The character is a presentation of myself, like an illustrated diary, where I tell stories of what happens to me during the day, mostly problems that happen during the day. Mostly Lebanese problems.” She goes on, “I started to draw these issues as a way to deal with them. It helped me start liking Lebanon much more. I hope these illustrations help people think about issues they forget or take for granted.” She discusses many issues that impact Lebanese society, but specifically her experiences as a woman in Beirut, for example “the overuse of using female bodies on billboards, the importance many Lebanese give to appearances, lifestyle and the way they act. Also, domestic workers and how its really a problem in Lebanon.”

(see this full comic here)

Why we like it

Maya's comics are a great example of the rich illustration talent of the Arab world. Through storytelling and building up a recognisable character, they encourage discussion around the issues she focuses on and they show how just by using a personal skill, without external resources, individuals can contribute to social critique and advocacy.

Maya's use of local visual culture and metaphors in her comics situates her commentary in Lebanese culture and creates a shared sense of identity for Lebanese readers. However an outside reader can still relate to the issues she raises about women across the board. She tells us: “I really, really believe in this aspect of creativity and art. I don’t believe that art is something just to look at. I think we should use creative means to pass a message.”

All Maya's work is published under a Creative Commons license and she now has two books of her work out.

Category: Visualisation to show social issues in the Arab World

By: Maya Zankoul


Look familiar? Maya Zankoul worked with us on the design for the Visualising Women's Rights project identity and this website!