"Baddawi: Identities in Transit"
March 30, 2016 - April 29, 2016

2016 Baddawi

Exhibit Notes

Comic art has the ability to break down concepts and information that may seem lofty or hard to understand, and make these ideas accessible to people. This makes comics a powerful activist tool. The old adage “knowledge is power” actually has a lot of truth to it—if we hope to create change, we have to make sure that those around us are educated on the issues that we care about. As a Palestinian, all my life, people have told me that the history of the Palestinian struggle is too “complicated” and difficult to understand. Yet, any Palestinian knows this is far from the truth.

The Palestinian struggle is a struggle for justice, and for those of us in the diaspora, it’s often defined by many conflicting elements. It is the tension between our ethnicity and our nationality (or lack thereof). It’s a burning resentment for borders, and a simultaneous desire to establish them. It’s nostalgia for a place we’ve never been, and the fact that too often our “mother tongue” is actually our second language. My work does not attempt to disentangle all the difficulties of diaspora. Instead, it embraces them, illuminating the way that these apparent contradictions are actually complimentary, just like the stark black and white in my comics, or the way that text and imagery work together harmoniously.

By engaging issues of identity, immigration, diaspora, tradition, memory, present day reality, and rich history, I create comics that shift between stark reality and surrealist dreamscapes to show that, in fact, the Palestinian struggle for justice and liberation is not so complicated after all. Rather, it is a human struggle, one that is inherently relatable to people from many walks of life.

Leila Abdelrazaq

There will be an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. and an artist’s talk at 6 p.m. Wednesday,
March 30, in the gallery located in the Classroom Building on campus.