A Talk with Seif Eddine Nachi About ‘Une Révolution Tunisienne’

Arabook: Une Révolution Tunisienne comes with some interesting historical sources, which help the reader to frame the Tunisian historical context. Comics and picture books are extremely expensive here and there is not a real large market to tackle. The graphic novel has now been published in an Arabic editing by the editorial project Soubia. Maybe this is the reason I have always had a deep connection with Italy, ever since I was a child: I often went to my Italian neighbor to watch the broadcasting channel RAI, and at 10 I could speak Italian. The aim is for this work to be red outside Tunisia.  About Soubia—this is a project which could go in different directions. A Talk with Seif Eddine Nachi About ‘Une Révolution Tunisienne’ April 21, 2022April 20, 2022 by mlynxqualey Special from   Arabook.It In January, the French publishing house Alifbata published the graphic novel Une Révolution Tunisienne. Most of the time, I am not very happy with my work. .  I haven’t thought of a particular reader. SEN: Aymen and I embarked on a very long journey of research; we have watched documentaries, read books, and visited several archives. I see that there is a need for illustrated books for children and we would like to try to find a place in this specific market. I tried different colors, different techniques before arriving at the final choice. I don’t have a real vision of Tunisian comics, but I know that at the moment there are no publications here ” talking to the people.” The ones who have succeeded in this are the Egyptians: The Egyptian cartoons speak to ordinary people, and this is fantastic. SEN: My style is quite “sketchy.” I have redone the boards over and over again and in different styles, as I said, often asking Aymen for his opinion. I found this very significant because I think that sometimes we need to give the artist the possibility of being human, of making and undoing.  About the reader.. Rather, what interests me is: Was I able to activate emotions in the reader, to transmit movement, to create a coherent narrative? Arabook: Can you tell us something about the style chosen for this graphic novel? Yet from the beginning, Aymen and I knew we didn’t want to make a biographical novel; we put our memories into the narration, as well as what we heard about that historical period, and what we read and studied.  Still, there are many references to our lives: for example, the elementary school I draw is my elementary school; the fact that the protagonist loses an arm refers to the fact that I was left-handed and by force they made me right-handed. We have a great chemistry, and we respect each other: This is extremely important and the reason why we work so well together. Which reader were you thinking of when you were making it? Was it simple or difficult to transform all this into drawings and a narrative?  Seif Eddine Nachi: I experienced the bread protest movement, unlike Aymen, who is younger than me. It is also important to mention that the historical facts of the “bread riots” have been taken up and used for propaganda by various political parties. Arabook had the opportunity to have a chat with the artist Seif Eddine Nachi.  We are grateful to Seif Eddine for his availability, frankness, and humor: his vision of the comic has offered many interesting ideas and perspectives on Tunisian (and Arab) comics.  Arabook: The graphic novel Une Révolution Tunisienne is midway between journalism and fiction and includes many elements related to your family history. you could still see the pencil proofs of the drawings. He often came to my house and asked me “we could do this and this…” in short, it was a process of small steps but always in synchrony. However, at present, if you want to be a cartoonist and earn a living, you have to talk about some particular issues, say for example illegal immigration.  I have an inherent difficulty with engagement or to consider myself “engaged,” in any form. I had only a memory of this mysterious character and we had no concrete proof. It must be said that I tend to redo the boards very frequently. This reminds me of a cartoon I saw not long ago: The artist made several tests, and the final result was even worse than the initial sketch  … It was a melting pot. While Aymen is more specialized in the scenario, I am the one who worked on the images. This interview is also available at   arabook.it, where you can read it in Italian. There is this deep connection between us which also implies the possibility of criticizing each other: we do not take it personally.  And in fact, for a long time we have tried to bring to life this graphic novel—confronting, making and undoing, and combining our ideas to reach the final narrative of the comic. When there were floods, everyone helped to remove the water from the entrance hall of the building.  Arabook: Speaking of Italians, the comic makes reference to the Italian community of Tunis, even with some sentences in Italian…  SEN: Absolutely. Why this choice and what are the objectives of the Soubia project? One day, we found an article that mentioned Chbayah….   all options are possible at the moment, and it is an ongoing debate within Soubia. Well, the cartoon was published like this. I must say that we spent a lot of time researching, and we had a lot of fun. My family and I had an apartment in a building where Italians, Jews, and French were neighbors…. The Tunisia described is in fact the country I lived in. We will probably not only do paper editions, but we will focus on digital, as we believe that the book must not necessarily be on paper and must be accessible to all. It was therefore necessary to make a comparison of the sources.  For a very long time, we could not find any articles about Chbayah in the archives: it was a legend. Seif: We have chosen to publish in standard Arabic because probably, if the comic were in Tunisian Arabic, no one would read it. I find that today’s artists, especially Arabs, are chained into themes and categories that don’t belong to me. Also read: ‘Une Révolte Tunisienne’: New Graphic Novel from Lab619 Co-founders Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInRedditTumblrWhatsAppPinterestTelegramPocketSkypeLike this:Like Loading… There were many Italians in Tunisia at that time. Arabook: The graphic novel has just been released in standard Arabic by the Soubia publishing house. Well, that day was fantastic. So… Even now I am not convinced of some boards, but this is my peculiarity. We still don’t know what Soubia will become in the future, what we will focus on and how. People don’t seem interested in the Tunisian dialect—I get the impression that they switch off their brains as soon as you start speaking Tunisian. We were part of the Lab916 collective. Arabook: What are your thoughts on the current Tunisian comics scene?  SEN: It is clear that comics have changed a lot since the previous century and have been freed from the limitation of being considered a product for children. How did you work on that part? Nevertheless, he has links with those historical facts in his own family history. Lastly, we must not forget the huge problem of the paper and printing costs. Arabook: How have you and Aymen organized the work in order to create a coherent story line?  SEN: It is not the first time that Aymen and I have worked together. We are currently a niche market, but perhaps we want to keep working in this niche market    …

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