By Blake Seymour
On Wednesday, March 13th, the Difference Art Gallery opened at the Port Loggia Gallery near the Halifax Waterfront. There were 12 artists featured in the gallery, but Amanda Arab’s comic book art stood out among the rest.
A fourth year student at NSCAD, Arab is anxious about her first gallery showing.
“I was really nervous,” Amanda explained. “I was to be featured in the gallery as a part of one of my classes, and I was afraid because I thought my art might not fit in.”
Amanda’s contribution to the exhibit unites a dream diary with a comic book called “Alec and Zoe’s Awesome Adventure!!!”
The piece is constructed much like a comic book, with various pages that the viewer can look through.
“I had already made the piece when I was asked to enter it into the gallery. I’m really happy with how it turned out, but was nervous about its reception.”
The story behind the book is an interesting one. The book itself is constructed as a book dreamed up by a fictional young boy going through a rough time in his life. In the midst of his parents’ divorce, Alec, the main character, imagines himself as a hero in a comic book in order to distract himself from the real world.
“When I was a kid, I always used to imagine myself as a superhero,” Amanda explained. The book contains several scenes of Alec fighting off enemies with an oversized sword.
“It helped me cope, and I really liked the idea. That’s what inspired the piece.”
The boy dreaming up the story is represented by a wooden block beneath the book itself, with Alec gazing up into the sky accompanied by thought bubbles. There’s a child-like aspect to the work itself, accomplished with the over-use of exclamation marks in the title of the book, and sloppy crayon-writing to engrave it.
The name of the boy in the story is of particular significance for the artist. Amanda’s younger brother shares the same name as the fictional boy in her work.
“I just really like my brother!” Amanda laughed when questioned about the matching names, “and I really like the name Alec in general.”
This work is the only one of its kind in the Difference Gallery. Amanda’s work, as well as all other pieces, can be seen at the Port Loggia Gallery free of charge.
“I’m really happy with how my first contribution went. I’m feeling optimistic about future gallery appearances.”