Figge installation II

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Last week we were invited to the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa (see details here) to install an oral history window mural entitled Let’s Chat About Civil Rights / Let’s Chat About Civic Memory. Here are a few process shots, with Sheika Lugtu, Melissa Mendes, Chris Reno, and Tessa Pozzi working on the mural. (Anne Elizabeth Moore was behind the camera.)

 

Figge installation

We’re off to the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa at the behest of St. Ambrose University this week to install an original window mural. (In-progress draft below by Melissa Mendes.) The images, by Mendes and Sheika Lugtu, will be accompanied by oral histories from local Quad Cities residents regarding two major aspects of Davenport’s participation in the struggle for civil rights, and public commemoration of that past: the fight for equal marriage and black history.

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The interviews, conducted by Chris Reno and Tessa Pozzi of SAU’s Catich Gallery and edited by Anne Elizabeth Moore, focused on how folks defined and experienced civil rights, and what visible reminders of past struggles they had located in their community. Questions were inspired by articles on the queerest cities in America; this amazing wedding; and the city’s destruction of sites of black history, as well as this powerpoint presentation on civil rights in Iowa and this video (from SAU!) on a planned civil rights walking tour.

Our interviewees were very generous with their time and our questions, and gave some beautiful insight into the Davenport area, and the absolute importance of keeping a constantly updated notion of civil rights at the center of public conversation. You’ll see more in the mural when we finish it April 7—a part of SAU’s Fair Play conference, hope you can come—but some of the quotes we’re most inspired by are below.

PASTOR RICH HENDRICKS

“I didn’t come out until I was 40. I grew up here—the community has become more diverse. I left here when I went to college. I don’t remember any African-American kids in my elementary school. …

“I grew up a product of a poor education. We had no sex ed when I was growing up. I didn’t realize that gay was an option. … My only recollection of a comment when I was younger was, I can remember my folks or their friends saying something about ‘those people down by the levy.’ The way they said it, you could tell it was dirty. I didn’t know what they were talking about, but I could tell it was unacceptable. That was, you know, the cruising area.”

VICKI PHIPPS

“I have the best job in the whole world. In my own work, I address power relationships. In one of the projects I’m working on, I’m working with a biracial student on this notion of microaggressions. In general, why does a person of difference have to educate everyone else? Can art and design help further that?”

“I’m the last member of my family that could move back to the reservation. But people don’t meet me and go ‘Oh, Native American!’ Whereas they do see [my student] and go, ‘You’re black.’ So we both have a long list of things that follow us that you can’t leave behind. …”

KAYLA BUSHEY

“I feel like civil rights really mean equality. Equality for every type of person. … I feel like that really gets smudged along the way. It’s weird to say that I am this, or I am that, but according to standardized tests, I am half Caucasian, half African-American. My dad’s side is the white side and my mom’s side is the black side. It’s strange because here in school, either you’re a part of the Black Student Union, or you are the populous of the white student body. I feel like I try to tread that line—honestly, trying to get that privilege on both sides. Or wherever I can. I’ll go over to my dad’s side of the family. He’s a general in the military and he wants rights for people, but only if people have earned their rights. It’s hard to be like, well you were born with rights. Then I go to my mom’s side of the family, and she’s like, we need women’s rights, we need LGBTQ rights. I even have friends who haven’t experienced that push and pull from both sides. … I think when people pick and choose what kind of rights people should and shouldn’t get, they’re not really enforcing civil rights.”

ANONYMOUS

“Right or wrong, the assumption has been that gay, lesbian, transgender, and/or bisexual people are outside of the realm of—this is gonna sound bad—us good black folks. So then those of us who fit any of those [categories] are on the fringes. I remember studying sociology and talking about marginal people. So if you were white and gay and male in the 1960s, then you were kinda marginalized. But you still had your whiteness and your maleness, but if you’re black and lesbian, then you got nothin’.”

 

Ladydrawers at Harper College

We gave a super fun talk yesterday on gender, comics, and radical investigative methodologies at Harper College, where the delightful Brian Cremins invited us to yammer about what we do. Rivven made these amazing cow aprons, in honor of Sheika’s love of our bovine friends, and Anne had to wear regular clothes and look professional so they would let us in the door in the first place.

Thanks, Harper students, for coming out to draw with us yesterday!

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Photo by Brian Cremins.

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The Ladydrawers & Femicomix Finland Superhero Team-up

Alecia intros us

Alecia introduces us at Women & Children First.%22as you can see, Finnish words are long%22Aino introduces Femicomix Finland with the phrase, “As you can see, Finnish words are very long.”
amazing audience

Our amazing audience.

anna reading w:aino Anna-Leena reads from her new book!

back of shelf

The fruits of Rae’s labor convincing people to make collaborative comics at our event (now available to browse in the front window, go read them, they’re adorbz.)
DO_grass ox winning poster

The Finns sweep the draw-off, bolstered by their strong showing by the prompt, Draw Grass Ox’s New Presidential Campaign Poster.
DO_grassox eating the constitutition

Rae drew Grass Ox eating the Constitution.

DO_grassox helps Sheika helps Grass Ox drect Rae’s drawing process.
Morgan offers the winning team US citizenship

The victors of the Draw Off were granted American citizenship. Ray 1Rae’s totally ridiculous performance had them flashing people to convince them to make comics together. 
ray 3 Rae choosing their next victim.Ray shows off zines

The tiny library created by our amazing audience.
Rays minizines Another closeup, without the artist themselves.sheika and our books Sheika did a bang-up job as the Mistress of Ceremonies.Sheika and Ray collaborate Sheika and Ray, attacking the page with cats, butts, and hot dogs. AKA “ladydrawering the eff out of it.”the Finns collaborate Hanna-Pirita, Taina, and Roju draw their ideal man, LOL.the littlest comicker Our favorite audience member draws some comics.

Welcoming Femicomix Finland!

kollaasi_web_valmisThe Ladydrawers Comics Collective is pleased as punch to welcome Femicomix Finland (AKA The FEMSKT Collective) to the shores of Lake Michigan for the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE)!

After collaborating with this crew for the last year and a half (at Villa Salin, at this event at Naisasialiitto Unioni, and waaaaayyyyy before that at this data-crunching project in Helsinki), we’re thrilled to finally be able to show off our corrupt and rapidly neoliberalizing city and its strong history of radical, queer, feminist research and publishing.

Here’s a bit about the group, translated from the FInnish:

Femicomix Finland does workshops, socializing, and support. Femicomix Finland is antiracist, inclusive, and aims to make its activities accessible to groups of all genders, races, and physical abilities. The group respects everyone’s right to self-definition. Anyone into antiracist and feminist comics, as a creator or reader, or is otherwise interested in what we do is welcome to join!

In the past the group has organized a festival, open workshops, public comics readings, two feminist residences, and other fabulous events. More is to come!

We’ll be participating together in the June 4 event at Women & Children First, and sharing each others’ stuff on June 6 and 7 at CAKE.

Then you can catch their sketchbook show and a Grassroots Comics workshop at Comfort Station in Logan Square on Sunday from 6 to 9 pm.

Northwestern University Panel Pix

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Our amazing panel featured Morgan, Sheika, Ray, and Delia.

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Delia and Grass Ox—a one-year-old stuffed muskox that’s running for president—share a quiet moment before the panel while Ray looks on.

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Ray shows off a few of their works—on the left is the back cover from the upcoming How To Draw Comics The Ladydrawers Way.Image 2

Sheika talks about gender and race diversity as a comics creator.Image 3

Delia shows off a few images from an upcoming TOP-SECRET PROJECT we CAN’T WAIT TO TELL YOU ABOUT but HAVE TO.Image 4

After the panel we had a very small, 20-minute comic-con, which was probably the best comic-con any of us have ever been to because everyone was nice and friendly but also it was over very quickly.Image 5

Grass Ox makes his way toward the wares. We had to keep an eye on this one.Image 11

Delia mostly was in charge of keeping an eye on her new pal Grass Ox.Image

We don’t have images of Morgan’s brief talk about gender and sexual diversity in her erotic work,  but it was awesome. Here’s the whole crew with Anne Elizabeth Moore, panel moderator, asking some kind of question, and/or layin’ down facts, which The Ladydrawers have taken to calling Annesplaining.