Posts Tagged ‘Arab’

Cosmonauta by Sardine - Mike V. Derderian

Cosmonauta by Sardine – Mike V. Derderian

This is in a way a twisted Valentine greeting with Cosmonauta 13.

I know I haven’t been blogging much, and I apologize for that, but I’ve been posting a lot of pieces, writings and illustrations, on Facebook as the interaction there is more direct and instantaneous.

I promise you that I will resume my blogging consistency as soon as possible with a couple of fiction pieces, a critique of a blog post about Rainbow Street, work-and-life-related updates, and a couple of other issues that are of importance to this Homo sapien.

The below piece is what inspired the word bubble for this Cosmonauta illustration.

By the way Cosmonauta 13 will be the heroine of a small tribute piece I wrote; a tribute to Anna Karenina and Solaris.

You can now suspend your imagination ;-})

Word bubble:

“Vronsky my love where are you?”

The chambers were flooded. Air was scarce. Electric signals were incessantly flashing with broken and unconnected thoughts rushing. The pressure was mounting.

Submerged!

It wasn’t water in which he drowned; yet the undercurrent was strong. Emotions flowed. His muscles ached. His mind was confused.

Yuri Vronsky was still alive in the safety of his bed when the sun gave warmth to his chafed cheeks. His space suit was floating next to the aluminum bed stand that was fixed to the metallic floor.

“I shouldn’t have finished reading the book. Anna would still be alive and with me through out this endless mission!” rubbing his eyes he said to himself.

“Karenina! Activate the gravity simulator …”

February 2, 2013
P.S: Cosmonauta 13 is from my series Cosmonauta,  high quality limited edition prints, that are available at the Mlabbas Store at 28 Rainbow Street. This is the link to how some of the posters look like: http://on.fb.me/11voLWZ
I hope you like them!

The illustrations below were published in Issue 5 of Daftar, a great design and illustration magazine that features the works of Arab creatives, launched by graphic designer, illustrator and artist Omar Al-Zo’bi.

The theme was censorship.

My fourth submission is slated for Issue 6. To those who don’t read Arabic you can find the translation of my comic’s text under Vol. 2.

Happy New Year all. May our words and imagination never be censored.

Thank you for following my blog :-})

Nippon Vol. 1 lr

Nippon Vol. 2

The Hulking Henchman:
Pucker up dear boy I want to be able to sew your mouth shut!

Prologue: 

Out story started when Arabs occupied the west and East Asia in 2012.

Liberties were imprisoned,

Imagination banned …

And thinkers reviled disbanded … 

This happened every where except in Japan where fierce Geishas rebelled and cowardly sheep committed Seppuku …

To be continued …

 

Click. Click. Click! His fingers hit the keys. Pause!

The clicks silently died. Some motherfucker piece of shit lied! They always do with sick minds that they hide under a well coiffed hairdo! Click. Click. Click! Another pause! Confusion slit the throat of his thoughts like a slithering assassin under the shadow of the night. Call it a mental fight or a fanciful flight amidst the clouds that obstruct his jaded jilted judgment … day has arrived.

Children dying … No! Children being killed! The Arab world, the treacherous parts, with empty promises is filled. Lecherous Oil Sheikhs are with our blood thrilled. I hear the weather in Kabul at this time of the year is quite beautiful. Get a hint assholes! Pack up your bags and settle in the mountainous mosquito and cockroach filled holes.

The newborn crucifix holders aren’t any better he thought. Fuck that second cumming shit! Click. Click. Click! Grab a gun and splatter your brain here and thither on the wall of silence. Book a one way ticket to Armageddon. Suck on the cold barrel and vaya con Dios.

Click. Click! Click!

The writer, with a half-dead cigarette hanging between his cracked lips, the keys again hit. Broken sentences falling from his mouth and unto the page; a tissue to his mental drooling.

Click. Click. Click! Who is he fooling?

A third pause! He takes a long look in the mirror where he sees a misfit (by choice) sitting behind a mint green Olivetti typing and typing …

Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click …

After putting the finishing touches on a cockroach I was illustrating for a poster I realized that I had to head out to the Royal Film Commission’ Filmhouse. It was almost eight o’clock. I was running late. Still, I went on foot; it was a great evening for a walk in Rainbow Street. When I saw Nadine Toukan in the street I felt good as it meant they still haven’t started screening When Monaliza Smiled, the latest feature length film by Fadi G. Haddad, produced by the RFC, Nadia Eliwat and Toukan.

This was one film I did not want to miss. I don’t know why! Call it a gut feeling. I quickly spied a seat close to the screen. It was anything from a private screening. The place was packed with a lot of familiar faces but I was no longer in the mood to be familiar.

The moment the funny and unexpected prologue of When Monaliza Smiled ended and the audience and I found ourselves in a modern day Amman, where a shy woman who goes by the name Monaliza lives, I realized this is going to be an enjoyable piece of cinema.

This was a few weeks ago.

Tonight I decided it was time to express my love for this beautifully made film with a blog post/review that I was supposed to write directly after the screening.

What happened? Upon returning home I found myself illustrating a minimal poster that came to my mind halfway through the film and that I finished the following day. The poster that you see in this blog post is my way of showing how much I loved When Monaliza Smiled. Anything that inspires you to produce a visual or written statement is good and this romantic comedy is beyond good.

To say Haddad’s film will teach us, Jordanians, how to smile is a naive statement. We know how to smile but we don’t smile as often as we should and you can thank our esteemed Jordanian government for that. My statement will probably come out as naive too but When Monaliza Smiled celebrates life and is in a way Haddad’s Cinema Paradiso.

I say Cinema Paradiso because every single frame, piece of dialogue, character behavior and plot twist reveals Haddad’s passion for cinema especially in the more fantastical moments that unfold in When Monaliza Smiled.

This Jordanian feature film celebrates the breaking of the inane social norms that govern our lives; it celebrates coexistence; it celebrates compassion; it celebrates humor; and it does all this as it tears down racial prejudice; religious prejudice, and most important of all the thunderous hallow figures of authority and power.

Haddad writes real people and the characters in his film are as real as it gets. Other characters in his film are a balance of reality and cliched stereotypes like the Armenian photographer. The moment Haddad told me in an e-mail that there was an Armenian photographer character I told him, “Hope you didn’t go for the cliched Ana/Inti typecasting of Armenians ;-})”

“Actually it is the stererotype ana/enti armenian dude. Lol! But it is intentional the whole film kinda plays around stereotypes. That is somehow the point of the film. I hope that doesn’t offend the Armenian community! :S” he replied back.

Well it didn’t offend this Armenian. Funnily it made me proud because it was a bold statement reminding the world that photography in Jordan was pioneered by my ancestors, and Haddad paid homage to that. My grandfather and father are photographers who spent their lives capturing faces and moments in time at Photo Paramount, a photography studio that used to exist between Jabri and Al Qudus restaurant.

Watching how that poor photographer (Nabil Koni) tried to make the mild mannered Monaliza (Tahani Salim) smile took back me to how my father used to position the faces of people in his studio, asking them to reveal their set of pearls, sometimes to no avail.

Plus Haddad wrote some cliched Jordanian stereotypes like the governmental employee, Nayfeh (an amazing Nadera Omran), who is very real and gives other hardworking government employees their bad reputation.

A good comedian pokes fun at himself and this is what Haddad did as a filmmaker; he placed a magnifying glass on a large section of our society; on us.

Eliwat, the producer, asked anyone who will be writing about their film not to give away important plotlines so in short and not wanting to spoil the film that is slated for commercial distribution here is the synopsis that you will find on the Facebook page, “WHEN MONALIZA SMILED is a romantic comedy about a love story between Jordanian Monaliza, and Egyptian Hamdi, set in present day Amman among a community of nosy stereotypes and quirky characters.”

The writing and dialogue is natural like something you overhear in a bus heading to Abu Nsair or in a traditional restaurant in Down Town Amman. The acting is fluid thanks to a good casting call. There isn’t a single miscast actor or actress in this film.

Shady Khalaf as Hamdi gives a brilliant powerful performance as the Egyptian underdog, who is struggling to make a living in Jordan. Through Hamdi’s character Haddad sheds light on an issue that is seldom tackled on screen or in news reports and which is the lives of Egyptian citizens in our country.

Haifa AlAgha as Afaf, the overprotective sister of Monaliza, gave out a sincere performance that bordered on psychosis. Suha Najjar, who played the neighborhood’s foxy lady Rodayna, boldly reminded us why we should never judge a book by its cover or in the case of Homo sapiens a human by its skin.

Tahani Salim’s Monaliza characterization was fun to watch especially with her awkward disposition and inability to smile. Creating a central character who is unable to smile even though her name is synonymous with the act of smiling and putting that character through a series of circumstances, one of which is the Jordanian society, and that are beyond her control like falling in love was brilliant.

Fuad Al Shomali, who zealously played the role of Abu Sara, Monaliza’s work supervisor, at the end of the screening said that “Fadi had a beautiful eye and knows what he wants with every scene.” He was 100 percent correct and Samer Al Nemri’s cinematography most certainly had something to do with that.

The color tints were delicious and fresh giving the film a dream-like sequence quality that was accentuated by the score. When Monaliza Smiled is a happy film and it will make you feel happy as films should at times.

What is left to say about this lovely piece of Jordanian cinema I will say to Fadi G. Haddad sounding like a cliched Armenian character in a celluloid world: Fadi G. Haddad Inti Wahda Shatra!

Bravo to you and to everyone who worked on this piece of cinema that won’t be forgotten long after the credits rolled.

Just wanted to take a happy a thought an extra mile especially after reading the quote that triggered this on a friend’s wall :-})

Here is the link the link to the actual oquote that inspired this: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=421351511228741&set=a.199799043383990.50768.197812326915995&type=1&theater

“The Arabic Alphabet is so Friendly, it even has a smiley face.”

Feel free to share ;-})

Thank you Miss Wendy Merdian :-})

By Mike V. Derderian

October 20 2008

“We have died enough. We die on a daily basis but what enrages me most is that our death is still primitive and happens so easily, which affirms our inability to learn more about it. It is like dying for the first time,” Satirist Muhammad Tommaleih, wrote, foreshadowing but not fearing death that will one day consume all.

The above quote by Tommaleih was featured in an article written in Arabic by Muhammad Shamma, a Jordanian journalist and radio presenter, who mourned Tommaleih, Jordan’s first and foremost satirical writer, who passed away on Monday, October 13.

“To describe him as a cultural phenomenon is not easy but he is a phenomenon. Through his articles and writings Tommaleih gives you a dose of reality and sincerity—honest and blatant sincerity without courtesies or euphemisms. Through his writings he embodies social reality with all its aspects,” Shamma wrote.

“I think that Tomaleh’s death and absence from the literary arena will have an impact specifically among sarcastic writers because he is one of the most influential book cynics among the new generation of writers. Although there are many cynical writers but they are not a creative talent like Mohammed,” Shamma later told The Star, adding, “he has always been strong willed and had a zest for life in spite of his misery.”

Even when he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his tongue in 2004 Tommaleih stood up against life’s cruel judgment and disparaged his calamity in his daily writings in al-Arab al-Yawm newspaper. Still its impact was sensed in his writings whereby he started describing his mental and physical state after each and every chemotherapy session he underwent or a night spent in solitude at a hospital room.

His writings that mirrored life were doused with bouts of existentialism and his language was a hybrid of prose, poetry and everyman’s language, which would explain his appeal to Jordanians.

Born in Karak in 1957, Tommaleih wrote five books: Jawlet Arak (A Round of Aniseed liquor) (1980), al-Khaybah (The Disappointment) (1981), Molahazhat ala Qadia Assassiyah) (Notes on a Primary Case) (1981), al-Awghad al-Motahamsoon (The Enthusiastic Rascals) (1984), Elayha Betabi’at al-Hal (To Her Naturally) (2007) and Yahdoth Lee Duna Sa’er al-Nas (Happens to Me of All People) (2004)—in association with Emad Al-Hajjaj—in addition to the hundreds of pieces he wrote over a period of 20 years for local newspapers like ad-Dustour and al-Arab al-Yawm, where he continued to write since 1997 until his death.

Tommaleih had previously issued two satirical newspapers Qef (Stop) and al-Raseef (The Sidewalk) that he edited. He also worked for the satirical newspaper Abd Rabboh.

“We not only lost a special writer but also a literary figure with a unique creative output and a delicate personality,” ad-Dustour’s responsible editor-in-chief wrote in his editorial bidding farewell to Tommaleih, “Tommaleih always made sure to be a pioneer not an imitator. He was dubbed by many as the father of satirical writing, which is something he used to poke fun at as he only wanted a space, his thoughts and his style.”

Whether it was divine intervention or pure coincidence, I found Yousef Gheishan, a Jordanian satirical writer, standing outside Abu Ali’s Culture Kiosk in al-Balad (downtown Amman) where within its narrow space that was lined with books we talked about Tommaleih. “I wish there is a photocopier within reach so that I could give you a copy of a speech I am going to deliver about Tommaleih at a women’s,” Gheishan told The Star, as he rummaged through a folder he was holding.

“What can I say about Tommaleih except that he prodded us into thinking about life’s precious moments and constantly reminded us that we are alive! Our loss is great but we—his colleagues and readers—are still to feel the brunt of his death,” continued Gheishan, affirming Tommaleih’s title as the father of satire in Jordan, “he started a satirical column entitled Eyewitness at ad-Dustour in 1983 and its first piece was entitled The Sultans of Corridors. Tommaleih was also the first to launch satirical newspapers.”

Gheishan describes Tommaleih’s writing style as being unique and hard to imitate. “We always tried to imitate his style of writing but we never got close [referring to other Jordanian satirists] to his style that was closer to literary writing peppered with sarcasm,” Gheishan explained.

A day earlier Gheishan wrote in his column at ad-Dustour that he won’t request from the audience at a lecture he was holding on satirical writing to stand a moment of silence for Tommaleih. Why? “He most probably would laugh at us,” Gheishan laughingly stated before disappearing in a wave of people streaming by the kiosk.

What is bizarre is the disappearance of Tommaleih works from bookshops and book kiosks in al-Balad after his death was announced in local newspapers. “I don’t have a single volume. People probably are realizing the value of his words and writings, which would explain why there are no books left,” the Kiosk owner Abu Ali told The Star.

“I wept at his family home. His brother made me cry. Muhammad is part of me and it is hard to describe him. Mohammad is a playwright, a moviemaker, a poet and a storyteller. In my opinion he is the best there was in Jordan and the Arab world. He was an avid reader and a prolific writer,” Abu Ali, who knew Tommaleih since he was a student, said adding that he hopes that Tommaleih’s family would soon start reprinting his books that are now in demand as they were when he was alive. “There are no words to describe his words. He loved Jordan and he was loved by everyone, and I mean everyone.”

After my inquiry, Sami, another book kiosk owner, whipped out his mobile and called up his store so as to ask about books by Tommaleih. “Not a single copy. We have to re-order them,” he exclaimed before saying that many people have been asking for his books.

No!

She wasn’t beaten up by a coward of a brother,

Still her face had a hole in it.

She wasn’t an abused wife and mother,

Still her face had a hole in it.

Disheveled hair covered her empty stare,

Lifelike yet lifeless she stood there.

No!

She wasn’t a daughter slaughtered by a bastard of a father,

Her face had a large hole in it.

A modern day Pygmalion would have wept her disfigured visage,

But a warm embrace would have been quite the scandalous vestige,

A man loving a mannequin!

There she stands,

Behind a crystal sheet, naked, forlorn and made out of plastic;

With a hole in her face.

Unattended and abused like many a real women in this world …

P.S: I felt the photograph that I Photoshoped from the original looked silly so I decided to use the original.

Photograph by Mike V. Derderian – Taken with a Sonny Ericsson W880i