I was invited by the Italian NGO “COSV” to take part of the 5th Beirut Comics Festival, as one of the international artists and to perform a concert at the opening. For the exhibition, I brought my drawings as well as comics done by my grandfather Ruy Braga in the 1930’s and by my greatgrandfather António Braga from the 1900’s which were never published! Also present were Luigi Simeoni aka “Sime” from Italy, Aleksandar Zograf from Serbia, Shennawy from Cairo (with his magazine Tok Tok) and Othman Selmi from Tunisia.
The festival was supposed to take place at the Unesco palace. But because of a very sad event, a car bomb which exploded on Friday, just prior to the opening of the festival, we were not able to access the exhibition as the roads were blocked and plans were swifting as we would hear about the news. On Friday evening, we noticed the bars closing early and the streets of Beirut were almost empty on Saturday morning.
The event turned into a very nice, more informal meeting between authors, editors and visitors from Italy, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Serbia and Portugal. This was my first trip to the Middle East and it was a very rich experience, especially from meeting so many talented people from these countries who work in the fields of comics, illustration and animation.
Here is a diary of the festival by Francesco (in Italian) http://blog.beccogiallo.net/fiere-ed-eventi/comicsagainstbombs-beirut-comics-festival-il-nostro-diario-12/