The project arose in 2005 from the desire to analyse, through the stories told in comic strips illustrated by African artists, the complex situation of immigration in Europe. In this European project, the art of cartoon has managed once again to put aside all too common fears and stereotypes, promoting a more careful and thorough understanding of the migration phenomenon, with particular attention to the younger generations.
The context in which the project New Arrivals was set in motion was one concerning the new geopolitical backdrop outlined by the process of European expansion when countries like Italy, Spain, Malta and Cyprus find themselves (even to this day) sharing the condition of the landing points of migration routes by sea.
From the selection and organization of content and theoretical research by European scholars-which has been able to provide an overview of the phenomenon of illegal immigration in an enlarged Europe, highlighting historical, political and social stories-six short comic narratives involving African cartoonists have been created: “To the west, the hope!” by Simon Mbumbo, “The pest of the king” by Adjim Danngar, “The colours of the world” by Didier Mada BD, “No strawberries for Don Miguel” by Pat Masioni, “There are two mothers” by Fifi Mukuna and “Gio Batta, the black slave of Malta” by Willy Zekid. All the narratives reveal on a surface level an enlarged and multicultural Europe, where issues of work, of freedom of expression, of realisation of one’s own dreams intertwine with the problem of identity of the immigrant struggling with the difficulties of life.
These comic strip narratives have since been put together in a small comic book which is used in schools and education centres in the countries involved with the project (Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Spain), creating educational intercultural workshops structured according to a modern method linked to the media education. The animated reading of the comics allows the children to put themselves in the shoes of the characters presented, thus enabling the young reader to understand better the fears, obstacles and hopes that the migrants carry with them on their journey. All the young people were involved in the production of the original comic book, shadowed and guided by a professional cartoonist.
The project has since exhibited the original comic strips by an African author touring Europe, involving both the young and the not-so-young in a reflection on the immigration phenomenon.