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Using art to tell stories of a home left behind

The story of graphic novelist Marjene Satrapi, who made it a habit to ask brave questions during her childhood, features in the third volume of the 'Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls' series

Born in Iran in 1969, Marjane Satrapi moved to France after high school to study art. Later she created the graphic novel, 'Persepolis', which became an international bestseller. Courtesy: Harper Collins Children's Books

Once there was a girl who used her art to stand up against an unjust government. When Marjane was young, big changes happened in Iran. It started with a revolution and a war with Iraq. At first, some people thought the revolution might be a good thing. There were big celebrations in the streets the day it happened.

Marjane and her parents were Muslim like the new government leaders were, but they disagreed with their politics. After the revolution, Iran had a strict religious government. Each time the government created a new rule, Marjane would bend it. When it said all women must wear veils, Marjane let her hair show. When it created a dress code, she wore forbidden sneakers and a denim jacket. When certain music was banned, she secretly bought cassette tapes of it. And when her teachers praised Iran’s leaders, she asked brave questions.

Marjane’s parents were proud of their daughter, but they were scared, too. She could go to jail for her behavior. Her parents eventually sent her to boarding school in Austria, where she’d be safer.

After high school, Marjane moved to France to study art. She had always loved comics, so she created some of her own. Using simple black-and-white drawings, she told the story of her childhood in Iran. A publisher bought her graphic novel, Persepolis, and it became an international best seller. Later, Marjane helped turn the book into an Oscar-nominated film. Since settling in France, Marjane continues to use art to tell stories about the home she left behind.

Excerpted from Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Immigrant Women who Changed the World by Elena Favilli

    29.10.2020 | 06:00 PM IST

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