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31/12/2017 - 07:00hs

A Moroccan cartoonist in Manaus

Malika Dahil is known as Morocco’s first female comic book artist. She’s been living in Manaus, Amazonas for almost two years now, where she works on projects with her Brazilian husband Eunuquis Aguiar.

Press Release

Malika and Eunuquis: living and working together

São Paulo – She became known as Morocco’s first female comic book artist, and now she works out of Manaus, Amazonas, in Northern Brazil. Malika Dahil Aguiar, whose work rose to prominence in her home country and in Europe, changed countries after marrying the Brazilian-born Eunuquis Aguiar, who’s also a comic book professional.

Malika has been living in Manaus for nearly two years now, where she has codeveloped the comic book project Jouj Opostos with her husband. It features Assia, a beautiful Moroccan woman with an inflated ego who comes upon Morocco’s greatest sorcerer, and he transforms her into what she abhors the most.

In Manaus, besides working on her comic books, Malika creates cartoons for newspaper Amazonas Em Tempo. She and Eunuquis join illustration industry events in Manaus. They also showed their work at the latest Comic Con Experience (CCXP) expo last December in São Paulo.

Malika explains that after arriving in Brazil. She spent a year doing nothing but learning Portuguese. She was born in Oualidia, a small Moroccan town where she lived until age 23 with her parents and four siblings. After that she moved to the capital, Rabat, to join the labor market.

The artist told ANBA that she used to enjoy drawing from a young age, just like any other child. At age 14 she started studying drawing at Mohammed V high school in Essaouira. Three years later she had graduated and got a chance to continue her studies at the School of Fine Arts in Casablanca.

Although Malika had to drop out – she was unable to support herself in Casablanca –, she kept in touch with her comic book art teacher Abdelaziz Mourid, who’d tutor her when needed. “I created my first comic book with him, La Traversée,” she says. This was the book that got her known as Morocco’s first female comic book artist.

Press Release

Jouj Opostos, by Malika and Eunuquis

La Traversée (which is French for The Crossing) features multiple authors’ takes on attempts by young Africans to cross into Europe. Teacher Abdelaziz Mourid passed away in 2013.

Her Lamsari et le Trésor des Oudayas (Lamsary and the Treasure of Oudayas, 2014) was the first comic book by a Moroccan woman ever to be released in France. It tells the story of Lamsari, who’s trying to solve a robbery of archaeological artefacts in the city of Oudayas. Back in Morocco, Malika also did work with an animation company, as well as being featured in events and exhibitions.

Her career took a turn after she met a group of Brazilian comic book artists in Morocco. They were working on a book about legends from different countries, and she got invited to tell the best-known Moroccan legend. The mastermind behind the project was Eunuquis Aguiar, and she kept in touch with him, an artist-cum-nurse, after the work was done.

They spent several months discussing the cultures of Morocco and Brazil. Then he proposed to her. At first, Malika thought marrying him would be impractical, considering the distance and their religion – she’s a Muslim and he’s a Christian. Eunuquis decided to travel to Morocco to meet her, but she surprised him by showing up in Brazil first. “Three months later we got married,” she says.

Her family accepted the union. “He’s a wonderful person,” she says, stressing the cultural differences compared to Moroccan men. Now, they’ve teamed up for the Dois Traços (Two Lines) project, besides doing other professional work on their own. Eunuquis is an illustrator with the dean’s office at Amazonas State University (UEA).

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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