Monday, February 18, 2008

Images Moving

I have been deeply moved by a work of art a few minutes ago. A book of drawings, images talking to me without using a single printed word, except for its title: The Arrival, and the name of its author: Shaun Tan. One artist to discover for certain. The Arrival has won the prize for best comic book of the year at the Angoûleme Comics Festival. One immigration story among billions one might say, so what makes Shaun Tan's story so original? Without spoiling your pleasure to discover the book by yourself, I will just tell you how I felt when I started to watch and read the images one frame after the other. The absence of written language just made me feel as lost as the central character of the story, I could follow and experience each one of his feelings: the arrival to the foreign land, the tasting of new food, the meeting with people, the search for a job, the loneliness... And the awkward need to belong. Frame after frame, I was trying to decipher each drawing as the character tried to decipher his new environment. I could write pages and pages about the technique Shaun Tan uses, comparing his work with other graphic novels... But I will not break the spell: I have been deeply moved by the story of a man who leaves his daughter and wife to search for a better life on an unknown land. Nothing new, same old story for hundreds of years. And I am still moved by the humanity in it, only this time was the feeling even stronger.

Photo: 'Four Seasons' Shaun Tan, pencil on paper

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