The Lakes International Comic Art Festival has unveiled its first comic art mural at LICAF 2022 by the extraordinary multi-media artist Mehdi Annassi, aka Machima, from Morocco.
Mehdi’s work is world-renowned and he is at the cutting edge of bringing comics outdoors and to a wider audience.
His mural, “Windermere Arctic Charr”, adorns the Lake District Boat Club, and has been created in the week running up to the Festival. It’s inspired by Lake Windermere and “a character who is trying to stay afloat in between all the boats and plants. whilst embracing and protecting the Arctic Charr, that has befriended her and swims around her”.
Mehdi hopes it will remind visitors of the value of the natural world – and highlight the plight of this ancient fish.
The Arctic Charr is one of the rarest fish species in Great Britain and still exists in Windermere. The fish is vulnerable to rising pollution and water acidification.
“I would hope that the mural could turn some attention towards the changing conditions and rising temperatures of Windermere,” he says, “Hopefully the Arctic charrs I draw on the wall won’t be the only ones left in the lake.”
“We are delighted to playing an active part in the Festival, and to be showcasing the importance of water quality and the valuable environment of Windermere,” says Catherine Anderson, secretary to the Lake District Boat Club. “Our members value the wonderful biodiversity of Windermere, and it’s fantastic to have an international artist creating new work to showcase the wonder and fragility of our natural environment.”
The Freshwater Biological Association exists to inspire global action to protect freshwater environments through science.
“Climate change is putting unprecedented pressure on our environment and its biodiversity,” notes executive director Simon Johnson, “and we need to use all the methods of communication to demonstrate the importance of protecting freshwater environments. I’m delighted to be part of this amazing project.”
Mehdi Annassi started his career in the video game industry in 2008, and worked since then as a digital artist, illustrator, graphic designer and street artist.
In addition to his commissioned work (murals, comics, posters, illustrations, animation and more), the award-winning artist, who was named creative of the year 2015 on the Maroc Web Awards, is known for his contribution and involvement on the Moroccan comic art scene, as a founding member of Skefkef, the first Moroccan independent comics magazine written in darija.
Apart from designing walls and posters for his freelance clients, Mehdi, whose work has been shown in Morocco, Spain, Egypt , France, the UK and Lebanon, is currently working on his first graphic novel.
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MEHDI ANNASSI ONLINE
MORE ABOUT THE ARCTIC CHARR
• Find out more about arctic charr the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology’s Windermere case study
Created 13,000 years ago, during the last major ice age, the waters of Lake Windermere, the largest natural lake in England, are inhabited by arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) that became landlocked. A cold-water species with high biodiversity value, worryingly, population levels have declined over the last 20 years in Windermere due to the effects of climate change, eutrophication and the ingress of invasive species.
• FBA – Love Your Lake: Big Windermere Survey
Launched jointly by the Freshwater Biological Association, located on the shores of Windermere, and Lancaster University, the Love Your Lake: Big Windermere Survey recruited volunteer citizen scientists to help assess the environmental health of Windermere during the summer. You can find out more about the Love Your Lake: Big Windermere Survey on the FBA website
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.