Hijab Girl: Unveiled
A new comic book series “Hijab Girl: Unveiled” by author and illustrator Sarah Alhazmi, a Saudi youth currently residing in Dubai is a social and political statement on the role of women in Saudi society. Hijab Girl, the series’ protagonist, is a young girl living in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Gazette reports: In the opening pages, she is hit by a car owned by an affluent member of society who mistakes her for a garbage bag. After surviving the accident, Hijab Girl meets Fady, a young boy who is convinced Hijab Girl is a superhero after the car hurtles her through the air and she lands in a pair of green underpants.
On the difficulties she faced in releasing Hijab Girl: Unveiled, Alhazmi said: “Many regional publishing companies have refused to publish it because they don’t want to risk upsetting the powers that be. However at the Middle East Film and Comic Con (an annual event in Dubai that celebrates the comic book medium) where I released Hijab Girl, it was met really well.
“The thing about my comic is that many people see the cover and initially think it is an attack on their beliefs, but once they begin to read it, they are usually on board.
“I find it extraordinarily satisfying when someone picks up my comic thinking that they will be offended only to completely change their opinion midway through reading,” said Alhazmi on the readiness of the public to treat their issues with humor and laughter.
The art style and themes in Hijab Girl make use of slapstick comedy and cartoony illustrations to drive a strong message. “Approaching such a serious topic in a lighter ‘whimsical’ style makes the subject more approachable and less preachy, while still delivering its meaningful message,” Alhazmi said.
Some of her concepts are quite unique, such as Alhazmi’s business card, which looks like a faux drivers’ license, complete with a veiled mug shot revealing only Hijab Girl’s eyes that seem to hint at an agreeable attitude, masking very real – and justified – frustration. “Handing out my card, I usually say ‘we make our own.’ People laugh and pray for a better future. Some will ask for one of their own, others will condescendingly say ‘in your dreams sister.”