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Coming of age in a new motherland


Christina De Witte

Araya has lost her Belgian father, with whom she has lived since her parents’ divorce. So now, aged nineteen, she’s travelling to Thailand, where her Thai mother has relocated. The relationship between Araya and her mother has never been straightforward, and it’s no different now. Especially not when she finds her mother living with Erwin, a disagreeable Belgian man. But as Araya meets new friends, she gradually starts to feel more at home and begins to get a sense of who she really is.

Powerful themes in simple drawings

In simple black-and-white drawings, the semi-autobiographical ‘Araya’ paints a complex portrait of a young woman struggling with her bi-cultural identity, her sexuality, the relationship with her mother and her self-image. Christina De Witte’s work closely reflects the lives and experiences of young people and perfectly captures Araya’s insecurity and need for support. Her tentative, budding love for Mariko is depicted in a moving way. ‘Araya’ addresses complex themes in an accessible style.

A compelling and nuanced graphic novel about complex human relationships and fear of the unknown