Solidarites International

Every year in Beirut, the French Cultural Institute in Lebanon organizes the Francophone Book Fair, an event gathering all the French-speaking bookshops, authors, editors and readers during one week of discoveries, conferences and encounters.

This year, « Meantime » has been officially presented to the Book Fair with a round table gathering Nour Hifaoui Fakhoury, Lena Merhej, Lisa Mandel, Kamal Hakim and the NGO Solidarités International.

The round table aimed at introducing the work of the artists to the public, the project and the interest to use comics as medium to raise awareness among the readers about crisis and complex situations.

Lisa Mandel shared her experience based on her work in the Jungle of Calais in France, and told that « everything is interesting when you are abroad: we look at everything with a fresh and new eye. The interest of graphic novel is to draw what struck me, I’m remaining honest, but I add some subjectivity ».
Kamal Hakim added to this that he wished to « humanize the situation and to tell stories of persons instead of talking about a collective plague, or numbers and statistics”.

The challenges and backstage of the project have also been mentioned, with Nour Hifaoui Fakhury, how explained that in the field « we can never plan for everything. You can come as prepared as you can, you can never know what you will see, hear or who will you meet ». On the other hand, according to Lena Merhej, « to have a pen and paper in hand creates a special relationship with the people. Everyone wants to be drawn”. This allows the people to « talk more easily and openly than when you come with a camera or microphone » according to Kamal’s experience.

Read about the artists’ experience and feedback in the backstage section!