I was rudely awaken last night by drunken screams and howls coming from the courtyard which were then followed by loud intoxicated operatic singing from down the hallway. I guess daylight saving for some meant an extra hour of drinking! I applauded myself for turning down the invitation to go for pub crawl earlier that evening as either it could have been me in such a state or even worse I could have had to patiently and soberly deal with these extremely inebriated people.
After making full use of my extra hour to master the washing machine and dryer – I went on a very long walk to New Hall College to attend a workshop on Women in Comics. A conference celebrating women illustrators, designers, cartoonists, and comic artists and I say comic artists because there is art in comics like Melinda Gibbons Lost Girls which is an artist comic which took sixteen years for her to produce. From the political, to the autobiographical, to the erotic, for children or for adults or teenagers, comics come in all shapes and sizes but they all tell a story, some stories, maybe more important than others. Asia Alfasi, a manga artist, whose interest in comics was stimulated by the French law in 2004 banning hajibs in public places. This provoked her to create comics which accurately present positive images of Muslim women who do not see Islam as an oppressive force but actively embrace. In her stories, although her heroine wears a hajib, religion is not the integral part of the story but only an ingredient in the comic, a subtle way to get people to accept this way of life without judgement.
Also remarkable is the story of Kate Evans a political actvitist producing cartoons on issues like climate change, genetic engineering, and the Middle East. She also takes time out to celebrate motherhood in a personal and informative picture book illustrating the trials, tribulations, joys, and surprises of breastfeeding.
The conference and the venue of the conference, New Hall which has a permanent exhibition of female artists work, was a loud pronouncement that women are taking up places and moving forward in various industries including the arts, the comic arts.
Food for thought
A science communication comic strip for the newspaper
Check out : Agent Zee by Robert Inglis, Jive Media, South Africa, Secret Science Alliance by Eleanor Davis and Okido (an art and science magazine for children).