Najawa: A Story of Palestine is a 45’ long street comic created by artist Michelle Sayles in the summer of 2015. The comic tells the story of a Palestinian woman’s life in decade snapshots as she navigates her country under occupation, ending with a vision of future liberation. The story synthesizes together oral history, documentary, and media accounts of life in occupied Palestine to raise awareness about the history of the ongoing Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Sayles collaborated in the development of the project with Vermont artist and educator, Jen Berger and Vermonters for Justice in Palestine.
Check out some photos from the current and past exhibitions:
This video was recorded during Najawa’s debut installation in Burlington, VT during Art Hop 2015. In this piece, Michelle Sayles recounts some of the historical background that shaped the artwork, tracing the influences featured in each panel. Wafic Faour from VTJP shares a poem from renowned Palestinian poet Tawfiq Zayyad, On The Trunk of an Olive Tree.
We are proud of the reach this piece has had since its release in 2015, with exhibits in high schools, universities, public libraries and a show at Bread & Puppet Theater. Notably, it was exhibited at Vermont Law School during their Solutions Conference in 2017. If you are interested in hosting this street comic in your community, please reach out to VTJP or the artist to set this up. (Note: Suitable venues should have 45 feet of wall space to hold all 9 panels, with each being 60 inches wide by 48 inches tall)
Your comments and reactions to the project are incredibly valuable. Feel free to contact the artist to share your thoughts, or to bring the project to your city!
This project is also available as a downloadable zine: Najawa Zine