Roha: The Heretic's Saga

Miriam Hillawi Abraham

Illustration / 2019
From Roha: The Heretic’s Saga

Roha: The Heretic’s Saga is a comic book trilogy set in the monolithic churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia. The comics address the three three perspectives of the self-proclaimed experts of the site, offering entry points or portals into speculative stories of happenings, histories and local lore surrounding Lalibela (Originally Roha).

In each issue, the hero is ultimately flawed and the narrator is as unreliable as the widely contested and contradictory research into the origins and age of the churches. As the prototype of the Abyssinian Cyber Vernaculus, these comics depict the stories that contradict and affirm one another within the triptych.



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Miriam Hillawi Abraham is a multi-disciplinary designer from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. With a background in Architecture, she works with digital media and spatial design to interrogate themes of equitable futurism and intersectionality. She holds an MFA in Interaction Design from the California College of the Arts and a BArch in Architecture from the Glasgow School of Art. She has worked as a game-code instructor at Bay Area Video Coalition’s youth program for over three years and is now a Mellon researcher for the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s Digital Now multidisciplinary project. Abraham's work has been featured in the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia as part of the Special Project “Guests from the Future”,  as well the "/imagine: A Journey into The New Virtual" exhibition at the MAK Museum of Applied Arts, the 2nd Sharjah Architecture Triennial and the 14th Shanghai Biennale, “Cosmos Cinema.”