Samandal is the Arabic word for salamander. Much like the dual habitats of amphibious creatures, Samandal comics thrive between two worlds; image and text, entertainment and substance, the low brow and the raised brow, the experimental and the traditional.
Samandal is a volunteer-based non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the art of comics in Lebanon and the rest of the world. Based in Beirut, we have published 15 magazines, and five comics anthologies and two graphic novels and hosted comics-related events since 2007.
Founded by Omar Khouri, Hatem Imam, Lena Merhej, the Fdz, and Tarek Naba’a, the Samandal comics association family has now grown to include Barrack Rima, Joseph Kai, Raphaelle Macaron, Karen Keyrouz, Nour Hifaoui, and Tracy Chahwan.
Mission & Activities
Samandal is an alternative platform of expression for cultural and social issues. We privilege the singular voice of the artist, his graphic and narrative experiments and research that questions the language. Our publications are read in several languages, from right to left as from left to right and always with layout translations in several ways.Since 2014, the magazine has changed its format: it has gone from a quarterly based on open calls (15 issues between 2007 and 2013) to an annual publication run by a different editor each time. This presupposes a subjective choice of editorial direction (according to a theme or not), authors, working methods and printing. Today, in parallel with the annual publications, we plan to expand our catalog.
Since its establishment, Samandal has implemented:
- Ten Workshops on Storytelling Techniques, Remixing Comics, Comics Jam, Comics and Animation, Handmade Comics and Silkscreen Techniques.
- Five residency projects in Sophia (2008), Rome & Brussels (2009), Beirut (2010), and Marseille (2016).
- Ten exhibits at Beirut Express (2008), Institut Francais (2009), Beit Al Mousawer (2010), Salon du Livre (2015 and 2016), Tanit Galerie (2016), Uqbar Gallery in Berlin (2017), Pulp Festival in Paris (2018), Cinema Nova in Brussels (2018), Lyon BD (2018).
- The Lebanese American University symposium on comics and censorship (2016).
- In addition, it has co-organized The Beirut Animated (2009, 2011, and 2013) and conducted the training at the 3-month Comics Workshop with Amel Association in Beirut (2017).
- Moreover, several awards have been won, including Best Comics Magazine (FiBDA 2009, Alger); Best Arabic Graphic Novel for ‘Yogurt and Jam’ (FiBDA 2013); Best Arabic Graphic Novel for ‘Utopia’ (FiBDA 2013); Audience Award for Topia at the East London Comics and Arts Festival (2018); the Fauve d’Or de la BD Alternative at Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême (2019); Mahmoud Kahil’s Comics Guardian Award (2019) and Unesco-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture (2019).
Sponsors & Friends
Arab Fund for Arts and culture (AFAC), Institut Français du Liban, Suisse embassy in Lebanon, la Ville de Genève, Goethe Institut Beirut, Goethe Institut Berlin, the Lebanese American University (LAU), la région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, the French ministry of culture, Bureau du livre of Beirut, MADA, Oxfam, Xanadu*, COSV, Region PACA, Selat link through the arts: Qattan Foundation, Next Page Foundation.
Samandal’s family: Collaborators and Friends
- Tanit Gallery, Station Beirut, Alifbata, L’employé du Moi, Zoukak Theatre company, Paper Cup, Ashkal Alwan, Ixsir, Ksara, Studio Safar, Demo Bar, Dar Book Store, Unesco, Festival International de la BD Angoulême, East London Comics and Arts festival, BD Lyon festival, Studio Fidèle, Arab Image Foundation, Mahmoud Kahil Award, Belgium embassy in Lebanon, Zico House, Annahar newspaper, Al Akhbar newspaper, Agenda Culturel, L’orient le Jour newspaper, Helem, Saghieh Law firm, Beyt Al Kottab, Tosh Fesh, Waraq, Masrah al Madina, Arka, Insan, Najdeh, Station Beirut, Rada and Motaz Sawwaf Comics Initiative, Orient Institute Beirut, Salon du Livre de Beyrouth, النادي الثقافي العربي, Assafir Newspaper.
- Zena El Khalil, Simona Gabrieli, Yasmine Nashabe, Sahar Mandour, Zeina Misk, Lina Ghaibeh, George Khouri, Lina Mounzer, Ghenwa Hayek, John Nasr, Nidal El Achkar, Ahmad Salman, Valerio Bindi, Alex Baladi, Sarah Sehnaoui, Carla Aouad, Lama Zouein, Tala Safié, May Farra, Deborah Kempczynski, May Rostom, Samir Youssef, Myriam Boulos, Joanna Kaï, Charbel Al Khoury, Hassan Chehouri, Danielle Saleh, Carla Habib.