Our favorites from around the Khaleej.
Sometimes making and appreciating art is hard. The cost of materials is high and demand from publishers never matches the velocity or magnitude of the output, which leaves what accessible art there is available very expensive and rare, and to be quite frank… pretentious.
Hence comes the need for chapbooks. The term is used to denote publications of up to about 40 pages, bound with some form of saddle stitch, or otherwise perfect bound, folded, or wrapped. Self-published, cheap, and most importantly, beautiful, chapbooks are the best platform available to artists in the region now.
Momad: Unframed, Unboxed & Untold
A tiny bit smaller than an A3 paper, Momad’s latest The Kamin Stories chapbook is a sight to behold. Devoid of any text, the reader is left to imagine their own story as the titular character falls out of a box and ponders his state of existence.
Basma Amin: Shakhmatat Loan, Part 1
We were over the moon when Basma offered a chapbook compiled of entries from her color challenge. Every page has a different comic in a certain color, and the characters and words are so perfect we want to hug them. Part 2, please come into existence soon.
Khalid Mezaina: Fade Away and Illustrate
More a zine than a chapbook, Kahlid Mezaina’s Fade Away and Illsutrate Issue 1 is a monochrome compilation of a number of really talented artists lie Tulip Hazbar, Mobius Studio, Reem Falaknaz and IssaBlack. There’s just something about it that screams to be hung on a museum wall somewhere and appreciated by the mass public.
Zayed Temash: Do Not Go Up
Equal parts creepy, eclectic and a little psychedelic, Zayed Almansoori’s Do Not Go up is a gem. Launched in MEFCC, it’s his debut comic and it’s so very promising. We’re surprised it hasn’t gotten mainstream as of yet, actually.
Nasir Nasrallah: Abjad Hawaz Fanan
Abjad Hawaz Fanan is a gorgeous zine made out of recycled/craft paper. Even though this zine targets a very young age group, it would make the perfect gift to anyone who wants to explore their creative side.
Jaffat Elaqlam: The Pleasant Kind of Stupid, Mujarad Tharthara Ukhra, Technical Difficulties
The mothership of all Middle Eastern chapbooks, Jaffat Elaqlam is hands down the best source for GCC chapbooks and anyone looking to make a chapbook. Actually, they’re the best source for anything art related in the region, with a wondrously organized website and one finger on the pulse of the creativity the Arab world has to offer. And the best bit? The chapbooks on offer are free to download, read and share.