Tag Archives: women’s rights

Ad Astra Comix to Release the North American Edition of “Drawing the Line: Indian Women Fight Back!”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6th, 2015

     Ad Astra Comix and Zubaan Books are pleased to announce a North American edition of the groundbreaking comic title ‘Drawing The Line’. The book is a 162-page anthology of 14 accounts by Indian women of their day-to-day experiences in India, illustrated by the authors. After a successful debut in India, ‘Drawing the Line’ is coming to North America where a whole new audience can glean insight from the diverse perspectives of its contributors.4
Drawing the Line preview cover
    Released as part of an ongoing national conversation in India around sexual violence and the experience of women in public spaces, ‘Drawing the Line’ is an anthology of comics that range from comics journalism to autobiography. Though some of the comics address sexual violence, other themes include beauty standards, patriarchal attitudes in the workplace, experiences of sisterhood on public transit and other experiences of womanhood in India.
    Although the sexual assault case that sparked this national conversation around gender in India was covered in the western press, that coverage has been heavily skewed. Sexual violence has been portrayed as an Indian problem as though it was not also common in North American society. Rather than allowing western media to speak for Indian women, this title presents the individual, on-the-ground experiences of women in their own words and pictures.
teaser _ male gaze
   At a time when white feminism is struggling to embrace intersectionality in a meaningful way, titles like ‘Drawing the Line’ offer western feminists an opportunity to engage with the lived experiences of Indian women in other parts of the world. For South Asian women living in the diaspora, ‘Drawing the Line’ represents an opportunity to compare similarities and differences between diasporic life and the experience of women still in India.
teaser_ woman drinking tea
     Zubaan Books, the title’s Indian publisher, are an independent feminist publishing house based out of New Delhi that has been operating since 2003.
Ad Astra Comix is a Toronto-based comics press specializing in the production and publication of comics and graphic novels that amplify marginalized voices. Founded in 2012, Ad Astra is working on several publishing projects in addition to ‘Drawing the Line’.
Press Contact: Nicole Marie Burton
E-mail: adastracomix@gmail.com
Phone: 1-647-863-4994
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Who is Ana Mandietta? by Christine Redfern and Caro Caron

Title: Who is Ana Mandietta?
Author: Christine Redfern
Illustrator: Caro Caron
Got my copy: from creators @ TCAF  (2012)
Published: 2011 by Feminist Press (originally published in French in Montreal – now also available in English and Spanish)

It seems like the life of Ana Mandietta was social commentary from start to finish.

Although born in Cuba, she was brought to the United States as a child, one of thousands under the CIA campaign Operation Peter Pan in the early 1960’s. Over the next decade, like Ana, the world around her was coming of age: U.S. political movements, Latin American revolutions, as well as the cultural worlds of music and art. She began a rise of notoriety in the U.S. as a new kind of modern artist (a feminist), where she embraced and confronted tumultuous times, applauding the opening of minds while pointing out the hypocrisy of where they stayed closed. This was especially the case around the question of women–our rights as well as our popular representation.

In the 1980’s, just as Ana’s work was gaining exciting new attention, she died under mysterious circumstances–having apparently jumped out of her apartment window while arguing with her husband.

This book is not only the story of Ana’s life, but a histroy of the dismissal of women in the art world, as well as the scene’s suspicious apologism for domestic violence at the hands of male artists.

Even as a 27-year-old enthusiast for a lot of art, music, and political movements that arose in the 1960’s and 70’s, a lot of what is in this book is new to me. Even though I’d read William S. Burroughs and Henry Miller, I didn’t know that they both had serious histories of violence against women (Burroughs killed his wife by accidentally shooting her in the face, Miller stabbed his wife in the back; she survived, and tried to cover it up.) I first read it months ago, right after I picked it up at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. I finished it over the course of an evening (it’s relatively short, at 84 pages), but found it too overwhelming in the first read to really get out a notebook and jot down my ideas. It’s amazing, intense, angering, saddening…

Christine Redfern and Caro Caron are both hard at work here, emersing you into another world–the world of American art and politics of the era. I really appreciate a lot of the imagery here, seeing as I wasn’t around to witness any of these iconic events first-hand. Pages are densely packed with information that isn’t always explained, (faces, sayings, music lyrics, historical venues) and I like being given the space to explore, wonder, and look things up (I will add, to their credit, that Christine and Caro did do a lot of work for the reader: the inside cover of the book is a portrait gallery of “who’s who’s” of the contemporary scene, as well as a glossary in the back).

The style of the art itself, although not Ana’s style necessarily, is nonetheless a nod to her ethos and carries a lot of feminist undertones–there is a lot of symbolism mixed with a lot of reality, if that makes any sense. For example, her body is shown being figuratively impaled by tree roots in one scene, to describe a deep emotional connection with nature–but the illustration of her dead body after she, according to her husband, jumped out of her apartment window, is so sadly realistic. Her face is crushed, her underwear is wrinkled, her body is contorted.

Unlike many comic book artists, who strive to make a woman to look perfectly beautiful even after a violent death, Who is Ana Mandietta?  is a continuation of one of the legacies of feminist art: to diametrically portray more of how women [really] feel inside, hand-in-hand with with how things [really] are on the outside… a magical realism of sorts.

This is one of my favorite political comics yet, and one that I highly recommend, but readers should be warned: you need an open mind in order to appreciate the full power of Ana’s artwork, as well as this monumental book.