• May 26, 2023

A comic in the form of a map brochure, centered on several ideas around migration tied to my experiences, family history, and the influence of colonialism in the countries I live in.

The final work produced for one of my postgraduate subjects.

My site is the metaphysical liminality space of migration, narrowed down to the scope relevant to myself (my personal experiences, my family history). When I presented this earlier in class I wasn’t sure of how I wanted to format it: a physical piece, or a digital thing like a webcomic that scrolls down. I then thought, why not literalise the mapping of my migration narratives by making an actual map? So I turned it into a map brochure comic.

The brochure opens up to a world map that is cropped to what is relevant to me and my narrative (the map stretches from UK to Australia only, so it is only the Old World and Oceania). At the back of the map, the other side of the page, are 4 stories done in a non-linear, inconclusive way. Each story corresponds broadly to its position on the map: the story about Ice Age migration covers the top row of the map, from the West (Africa) to the relative East (Europe, Asia, Oceania); the one on the Way of St James covers the Middle East and Europe; my personal history covers Malaysia and Australia; and the Ngargee tree is placed right at East Australia.

Unfortunately, due to the format I chose (limited, constrained in space physically) I couldn’t explore the themes or the stories in an incisive or interrogative way (the way I would have liked). But it may be just as well, since maps themselves are oversimplications and summarisations of the places and histories they depict. Maybe it is evidence for how difficult it is for me to distill my complicated relationships to migration. If I were to expand this project, I would attach this map brochure to a “travel guide” aka a book; to act as a summary for the travel guide’s contents.

The art direction is a synthesis of 4 art histories/visual styles that are related to my personal histories and the narratives featured in the map brochure. It is based on the commonality between those styles: orange, black, white, with some decorative dotwork. The styles are: Ancient Greek pottery, to represent the supposed inheritance of imperial Britain; Chinese lacquer, for my ethnicity and where my family originated from; indigenous Australian ochre painting, for where I am now; and batik, for my hometown where I myself came from.

It was interesting to experiment with form that isn’t my usual webcomic-or-print-book affair. Personally, I wouldn’t want to make an actual real serious narrative confined within this brochure format, but I could see this working for a commercial, commission context. I would honestly love to make a comic brochure for a museum, or even for the Camino as a souvenir thing: something with a map and a cute comic/series of comics behind it.