Pardis Pahlavanlu gives us “The Imposter,” a raw and intimate autobiographical comic about youth and belonging. The protagonist, Pardis, is surrounded by other queers in her East Vancouver neighbourhood, yet struggles to find meaningful connection with those from her own Iranian diaspora. Pahlavanlu’s rendering of richly detailed city streets and colourful characters suggests a world for self-discovery, a place for youth to experiment with behaviour and identity. The gritty textures and bold linework of Pahlavanlu’s graphic style emphasize the painful injury of rejection from our own communities. This is a vulnerable story that explores the complexity of belonging for contemporary queer youth living across cultural difference.
Pardis Pahlavanlu is an artist and illustrator living as a guest between Tkaronto (Toronto) and unceded Coast Salish territories (Vancouver). While her academic studies have revolved around systems of power in contemporary colonial states, her artistic work has centred on the healing that is necessary in these contexts. Using textured and bold imagery with a mixed media approach, she digs into the topics of mental health, exclusion/difference, and diaspora in hopes of finding new ways to imagine and reflect on her surroundings and experiences.