Italian cartoonist Gipi has organized an exhibition of migration stories at a comic fair. The motto: "Migrating, Yelling, Dreaming." Displayed were not just Gipi's works, but also those of other Italians and North African and Middle Eastern cartoonists.
The exhibition "Migrando, Gridando, Sognando" (''Migrating, Yelling, Dreaming'') was set up over the weekend at the Mostra d'Oltremare exhibition space in Naples at Comicon, a cartoon festival. Italian cartoonist and director Gian Alfonso Pacinotti, also known as Gipi, was behind the initiative, which aimed to tell migration stories through works by him and North African and Middle Eastern cartoonists.
At the exhibition, Gipi said that the project had been a success: "There were many youths that were looking at the works attentively. I hope that the tales touch their hearts, while they are being bombarded by messages that push them in the other direction, towards cruelty or, in the best of cases, towards insensitivity." He added: "I hope that they leave here with the germ of awareness."
'Talking about these people as if they were paper cutouts'
Why did Gipi start an exhibition on migration? "It was an inevitable choice, given the times we are living in," Gipi said. "I wanted to hear the story from the other shore, since it is always us talking about these people as if they were paper cutouts."
Gipi pointed to the example of Marco Rizzo and Lelio Bonaccorso, two Italians who travelled on the Aquarius migrant rescue boat and captured the experience in a graphic novel.
Other authors whose works were exhibited included North African and Middle Eastern authors such as Barrack Rima, Othman Selmi, Nadia Dhab, Maya Mihindou, Ahmed Ben Nessib, Salim Zerrouki, as well as Italians Francesca Mannocchi, and Gianluca Costantini.
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Barrack Rima Saman, a Lebanese artist of the Lab 619 collective, said that his work was inspired by his artistic residency in Tunis. "There I met local human rights activists and migrants who told me about their journey."