The bright journey of young artist Wissam Yassin through the NAFAS emergency program
Posted on 2022 Jan,12  | By ArabAd's staff

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Wissam Yassin, a young Lebanese graphic designer and graffiti artist, found himself in Blois, France, after being selected to partake in NAFAS emergency program.

Announced after the Beirut Port explosion of August 4th, NAFAS (an Arabic word that literally means "breath”) is a program initiated by the French Institute of Lebanon, with the aim to support Lebanese artistic creation by inviting and accommodating around 100 artists in France to offer help and guidance with the development of creative and/or research projects, in all sectors of the contemporary creation.

Wissam Yassin was hosted by La Maison de la BD (The Comic Strip House) de Blois also known as BD Boom (Comics Festival) where he completed a 3-month residency. 

His project revolved around “Bro-Co” a character the young artist created during the first days of the Lebanese revolution, when he rushed to paint a representation of himself on the walls of downtown Beirut where the protests took place, to immortalize his anger and disappointment in the system on the walls of his city.

The idea started to take root and develop, and so he decided to create a graphic novel revolving around this character, which is a representation of himself, but also of all of the other young Lebanese who were thrown in the world during this crisis. His acceptance into the NAFAS program allowed him to start and develop this very project. 

The story then follows a week in the life of this young man who began his adult life at the start of the Lebanese crisis, living in one of the worst suburbs of Beirut, the "dahyieh" , the west suburb where religious and political forces hold power, a suburb which houses and accommodates thousands of inhabitants within it, a cluttered area that is despised and shunned by the rest of the city, and how he was able to navigate his new reality. 

Wissam’s idea was to create a comic that is both lighthearted with funny everyday anecdotes that underlies much more serious and darker issues related to mental health during times of absolute uncertainty, cultural conflicts and being torn between different worlds and ambitions. His aim was also to ease part of the struggle of his audience, by showing them they are not alone in their indecisions and fears. 

After three months working in close collaboration with the staff of BD Boom, the young artist was able to develop his synopsis, storyboards and the general progression of his story. 

He is currently in the process of creating his first draft and searching for the right publisher in the aim of publishing his story by next year. 

Moreover, as part of his residency, Wissam gave a multitude of graffiti workshops in collaborations with different local associations and he was featured in the festival de la BD held yearly in Blois, which attracts fans of comics and graphic novels from all over France. 

To follow more of Wissam Yassin’s work and updates on “Bro-Co”, you may check his instagram account @broccowee.