Deena Mohamed

5 July, 2024
Deena Mohamed‘s approach to fiction is always rooted in place and perspective. The Cairo-based comics artist is the creator of Qaheraan online bilingual comic strip that follows the titular superheroine in her efforts to combat misogyny and sexual harassment across the city. The first part of her epic Shubeik Lubeik was published in 2018; the project creates a world in which wishes are not only real but a natural resource that is of course extracted and commodified. The book, which I had the pleasure of reviewing for TMR following its release in an English self-translation in 2023, explores the journey and effects of three first-class wishes, all obtained from Shokry’s kiosk.

 

Deena Mohamed in conversation with Katie Logan


Mohamed is an artist who thinks deeply about audience–how will comics techniques impact the reader’s emotional experience of the text?—and language. In the interview below, we discuss the kiosk images she amassed while planning Shubeik Lubeik, the value of robust gathering places for comics arts like the Cairo Comix Festival and Maamoul Press, and how Katie’s copies of Shubeik Lubeik arrived in the U.S. in Deena’s suitcase.

Some of Deena’s favorite comics are the Egyptian anthology Tok Tok, Zahra’s Paradise by Amir and Khalil, Palestine by Joe Sacco, Ces jours qui disparraissent by Timothé Le Boucher. Two of her major inspirations are Egyptian artists Shennawy, Mohamed Salah (the comics artist), and Hiromi Arakawa, the author of Fullmetal Alchemist.

She also likes the movie Spiderman: into the Spiderverse and enjoys a lot of television, especially the Egyptian drama series Segn el Nesa (Women’s Prison) and Hatha el Masaa (This Night), the Korean dramas My Ajusshi and W – Two Worlds, the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Naruto. And Shrek.


Deena Mohamed is a graphic novelist and illustrator from Egypt. In 2013 she gained renown for her webcomic Qahera, which quickly spread via social media and was later reported on by various news outlets, including BBC News. Qahera features a hijabi superhero and illustrates the struggles Muslim women face on a day-to-day basis. The comic is feminist from a specifically Muslim perspective and touches on various subjects such as misogyny, street harassment and Islamophobia. Though first published in English only, it is now available in both English and Arabic. More recently, Since then, along with her graphic design work, she is the author of the award-winning graphic novel Shubeik Lubeik, published by Pantheon/Random House.

Katie Logan is a writer, teacher, and avid reader living in Richmond, Virginia. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas at Austin, with a focus on Middle Eastern Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her work has appeared in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society; Brill’s Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures; Memory Studies; and the collected volume Cultural Productions and Social Movements after the Arab Spring.

Arab comicsbandes dessinéesCairoEgyptgraphic novelist

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