Defending Culture with a Comic

In the modern world, minorities still regularly face racist comments, critiques, and judgements. With her awareness of this issue, Soufeina Hamed turns to other forms of communication to raise awareness “on a religious community and everyone that is thought to be its member.”

Hamed, also known as Tuffix, is an artist who uses oil paintings, sketches, and manga comics to detail the everyday Muslim life. She uses her artwork to highlight her culture in an intelligible way that truly makes the common phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ come to life.

When asked how she would describe her work, Tuffix replied:

“Maybe I would call it socio-critical graphic storytelling. Telling a story — no matter how short it is — is my main joy. I believe stories are hidden in the smallest moments and those small moments can help bring us together, understand each other's struggles.”

Hamed explains that she began to create comics to show others what it is like to be a Muslim through personal experiences.

“At a very early age I had realised that I have been treated differently because I was Muslim,” said Hamed, “that I had to defend my culture and faith as a child, be an expert in geo-politics as a teenager. Art helped me to deal with the pressure, the frustration, to reflect and find a voice.”

For a while, Tuffix has been posting art pieces that she created digitally. Though she says that digital artwork is easy, sometimes Tuffix prefers the true feeling and texture that a brush pen on paper provides.

Regardless of the medium she uses, Hamed still shows her audience the passion she dedicates to each individual piece. 

Hamed’s purpose in creating her art has developed from when she first started her art pages and online art galleries.

She emphasizes this by saying: “It started out as a way of venting my frustration about how society treated me and my community. Now it evolved to a means of creating dialogue, and empowering minorities. I believe that with graphic storytelling we can shine a different, more personal light on societal issues like racism. Pictures reach people so much faster than words. And by telling individual stories through pictures I can make viewers empathise with a character they would otherwise never deal with. Just think of all the Netflix movies and series and how close you feel to people you would never care about. Visual stories are so powerful.”

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