February 7, 2021
By: Nada Salem
The Japanese art of Manga – a style known for its expressive characters and dominant influence in comics around the world – is making its way to Egypt. One of the artists pioneering the way forward is Rasha Abou El-Ma’aty.
An innovator in Egypt’s art scene, Rasha is no stranger to the challenges that come with introducing something unfamiliar to a new audience. Despite the difficulty of finding a publishing house that understands her artistic vision, Rasha has persisted in carving out a new domain of Egyptian Manga art.
Rasha started out working as a translator after obtaining her B.A in English literature from the Faculty of Arts, Mansoura University. But her life took a turn when she decided to fully pursue her childhood dream of being an artist. She went back to study at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University. Equipped with passion, talent, and perseverance, Rasha began the hard work of bringing a new art form to life.
Throughout her journey as a 2D animator, graphic designer, and digital artist, Rasha has created several graphic comics that have captured the hearts of young people. As her platform gains popularity, Rasha harnesses the power of storytelling through Manga to bring awareness to issues like sexual harassment. One of her ongoing projects presented at the Cairo book fair is a comic book called “Strangers”, which she is still developing.
Rasha calls herself a “Mangaka” – someone who specializes in the Japanese Manga school. But she also goes beyond the limits of traditional Manga. Hints of Egyptian art can be seen infused in her latest works as she puts her own twist on Japanese Manga, and bridges the gap between the two cultures.
In addition to illustrating and creating comics, Rasha makes handmade felt plushies of Japanese anime characters that everyone loves. She also attends events that promote Manga where she displays her art, comics and characters.
Rasha’s 2021 wish is to put Egypt on the Manga map alongside Japanese Manga. She hopes to find a publishing house that is ready to take a chance on her unique art style and to help make her dream a reality.
Her works include: Strangers (sci fi comics); The Edge; Blue; Missile Selfie; 05:18; Hydra’s Gate; Abonne which is about sexual harassment.