Leila Abdelrazaq is a Palistinian author and artist born in Chicago and currently living in Detroit who focuses on using her creative works to open dialogues about refugees, diaspora, history, memory, and borders. Abdelrazaq’s comics and illustration combine art and activism, and she uses her experiences as the daughter of a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon to inform her work. According to Abdelrazaq, she tries to dissect what it means to exist in diaspora, engage with issues that concern Palistinians, and educate the wider publics about the Palestinian struggle. According to her author biography on kzoo.edu, she declares, “I. . .try to create art that can be used in movements, like comics and zines that transform into tools to inform and activate people in campaign work. This is the power of comics to me – they can engage the viewer in material that might otherwise seem inaccessible or complicated. . .I hope my cartoons and artwork can show people just how simple [the Palestinian issue] actually is.” Abdelrazaq is the author and illustrator of Baddawi, The Opening, short comic Mariposa Road, and various zines and other short comics. Baddawi was shortlisted for the 2015 Palestine Book Awards and has been translated into three languages.
Abdelrazaq graduated from DePaul University in 2015 with a BFA in Theatre Arts and a BA in Arabic studies. At DePaul, she served in her chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine and helped to pass the DePaul Divest referendum. She works as co-founder of Maamoul Press, a collective for the creation, assembly, and dispersion of art by marginalized creators whose work involves comics, print making, and book arts. She is also currently a member of For The People Artist’s Collective; a member of the National Students for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee; a co-founder of Al Mirsa, an organization that promotes Arab arts and culture in the Chicago area; and the founder of Bigmouth Press & Comix.
Simon Glover & Jenna Whiting ’19