Meet Madina - Beirut 2014

 

Project 

Illustrated stories representing my own interpretation of social & political diatribe across the Middle East & GCC.

 

Overview 

Meet Madina is a content and illustration project portraying lust, politics, space and cultural insights.

 

Context

A storyteller at heart, I wanted to create a series of illustrated political and social commentary to shake complacency and present a personal outlook.

 

Process & Results 

Madina cannot be defined by what’s between her legs for her existence today transcends the physical cast she once found herself trapped in. She is an outcome of social experiments, of lust and contradictions. She is all of us, and we all are ‘Madina’. Spawned from the Arab desert batting long dark eyelashes and stroking an even darker beard; Madina is the oriental schizophrenia bound by land’s tradition, an ardent fire that remains too weak to spark a revolution.

 

Spanning an author’s journey from Baabda and Jounieh in Lebanon to Gaza, Dubai, Cairo and Damascus, the prose I developed was in Arabic and its content represented in a hand-drawn black & white poster.

 

Exhibitions & Features 

Haven For Artists

Rusted Radishes

Beirut NTSC

Al Modon 

It was also produced as a limited edition etchings by Galerie Fadi Mogabgab.

Madina is also available on Tumblr and Facebook.

  

Translated to English by Nisrine Najem

Edited by Sandra Khoury-Flouti

 

Stories 

 

Lost in Dubai

In the depths of everything she experienced, Madina had dreams like the dreams lurking under every Nouveau Arab. Dubai…A mythical place where global civilisations came together to solidify the might of the black gold. But Madina didn’t feel the superlative sensationalism of the city, for you see, the beddings weren’t any different nor were the money slaves. Madina stayed in Dubai but Dubai failed to stay within her, for through it, she learned how individuals are reduced to mere numbers on the banquet tables of flesh and bones; how looming towers rise higher every day defying the Creator. Madina couldn’t find herself in Dubai despite all its dualities and wantonness, the secrets nestled under flowing abayas and embraced within gilded walls. So her fate was travel.

 

Swaying in Gaza

Dance Madina, dance. Dance on the vestige of treason, dance to the beats of firing rifles and lethal symptoms. Dance Madina… for dancing in Gaza is similar to a Resistance that purely stands on its name… Sway left and right, sway traitorous and militant. Sway Madina, whirl and climax on betrayal… Climax on treachery. Sway and leave Ghaza for it has become a stranger even for those she mothered. She mumbled angrily as she packed her bags and Madina left the medina.

 

Beyond the borders of the cabaret

In the place where the sun emerges in a rush, proudly drunk, the place where opposites meet; she arrived. Madina never thought she could find an almost revolting mirrored reflection of herself in a city, in a place blurred the boundaries between vice and virtue. She had arrived to her haven, to Jounieh, the capital of christian fascists since the 90’s.The day Beirut crumbled and crawled on her hands and knees for crumbs, desperately grasping the few that remained after most abandoned her, panting for the luxury of Kesrouan and the gleaming sun of the ‘Holiday Beach’. Madina failed to find a sun to wear or a moon to talk to. She just uncovered cages inhabited by either golden Djinns or dwellers overwhelmed by loneliness. And so she packed her bags and walked away.

 

Squatting in a Chair 

It is the place that brims with the scents of childhood; where children religiously embrace jasmine-filled lanes, with most of them belonging to the vast openness… There was Damascus. Madina had arrived paralysed by the crippling depths of her past experiences. But it was the wrong city, for in Damascus a chair holds a different meaning than comfort... Damascene Chairs are bloated with blood and embroidered with the thousand faces of famine. These chairs clung with all their might to the last cadaver, to the last loaf of bread... Madina couldn't, wouldn't sit in a place where sitting had no expiration date, and so she ran away.

 

Expecting in Cairo

She had always thrived in chaos for it was in its midst that Madina found a creative appeal that mutes monotony and fuels desires, just like Cairo’s mojo. So much of herself was similar to the city; there, where the nile insidiously writhed at night, ravaging, broadcasting the curse of the gods. Where doctrines sway when the rhythm of hips undulate every night, all night, until the morning chants of minarets rise. Proud Cairo, which freely made love to the Nile, does not submit. Cairo became vindictive, under the abuse and violation of military conquests. Madina walked again, clinched by disappointment and tinged with boredom: “Let it fall, let it fall…”

 

In the presence of sterility

Madina ambled on the path to Baabda, hoping against hope to find answers to obscure questions, turned darker from the area’s coil with vacant chairs. As she made her way down the streets, she thought of paranoia and how it affected and paralyzed people’s behavior: She marveled at the lunacy of oppressively aphasic streets and dark alleyways, devoid of people… She questioned people’s terror of yet another invasion, another coward. A terror, which made them unfailingly amputate the colossal and dark majestic pine trees, every October. The answer she sought came from a young boy: “My father sleeps with windows shuttered tight, locked beyond locks, entombing himself. Surrounded by enemies on all sides, Palestinian, Israeli, Syrian, and even those who bow to prayer and drink behind closed doors, He believes the only purity that remains is within his mother”. Overwhelmed by this parasitic sterility, she hurried out of there.

 

Madina is also available on Tumblr and Facebook.