Pedro Marques on designing the OSAMA cover

Pedro Marques, the Portuguese artist responsible for the Osama cover, has a fascinating post on his blog detailing the process of creating the image used. I’m reproducing the English text below.


Pedro Marques

In doing the cover for Lavie Tidhar‘s wonderfully complex novel Osama (very soon available through PS Publishing), I drew inspiration from a magnetic image created in 1951 by Gertrude Huston (the wife of New Direction’s publisher James Laughlin) for Julien Gracq’s A Dark Stranger, which I found on Will Schoffield’s blog.

I replaced the greco-roman classical silhouette with the more complex turban clad, bearded one of Osama Bin Laden, deciding later to add his eyes over the texture made up of debris (from a photo of one of the 1998 bombing sites in Africa) that fill this silhouette.

In Tidhar’s novel, Bin Laden is nothing but a fictional character in apulp paperback series, and the world hasn’t lived through 9/11, but what one reads in those pulp novels is pretty much what happened inour own dimension in the 1998 Dar es Salaam and Nairobi bombings. Maybe a pulp cover would have been more suitable, but I could not resist trying to assemble an iconic summary of the figure hiding behind the name: Osama.

Here’s what I believe to be the “dark” specter of our very sombre first decade of the new century and millenium, the very dark essence of our present days: not the late Bin Laden (a pathetic middle-aged sick man living in a well-to-do neighbourhood in a quiet town of Pakistan), nor even what may be known as Al Qaeda, but the fear, the willingness to accept brutality as a way of going forward in history, the loss of hope in the future.


One reply on “Pedro Marques on designing the OSAMA cover”

[…] Mass market paperback rights for Lavie Tidhar‘s provocative and much acclaimed novel OSAMA have been bought by Jonathan Oliver at Solaris Books in a deal negotiated by John Berlyne of the Zeno Agency. Solaris will publish in October in both the US and the UK and their edition will feature the original PS Publishing cover art by Pedro Marques. […]

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