Saturday, 6 February 2016

Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics - Exhibition at House of Illustration, London

Comix Creatrix illustration by Laura Callaghan
I must admit that I have mixed feelings about gender being a criteria in the curation of exhibitions of comic creators. Unfortunately, given what happened at Angoulême recently, it seems important to shine a light on female creators right now just to prove they exist. However I hope this won't be a continuing trend as it seems divisive and leaves those who don't easily fit into male/female gender categories out in the cold.

Putting those concerns to one side, this exhibition is worth a visit. There are many more than 100 female comic creators in the world so lots of women aren't represented. However it is an intelligent and thoughtful attempt by the co-curators, Olivia Ahmad and Paul Gravett, to give a snapshot of the variety and quality of comics made by women. Many countries are represented and some early creators are included, one piece of artwork dates back to 1775. Lots of original artwork is displayed and also pencil sketches, including one by Tove Jansson of a Moomin strip.

It is an intimate feeling exhibition in a series of rooms, besides the beautifully framed artwork on the walls, there are books to browse, ipads and a screen playing filmed interviews with female comic creators. I circuited the exhibition a number of times and each time I came back round I found something I had missed previously. It is worth spending a bit of time there or, like me, planning more than one visit.

One little niggle, I would have liked to have seen more books by the comic creators on sale in the House of Illustration shop. Even better a printed catalogue or book about the exhibition.

The Comix Creatrix exhibition continues until 15 May and The House of Illustration has a Shōjo Manga exhibition from 15 March to 12 June.

Details about the venue and its exhibitions are on this website: www.houseofillustration.org.uk
If you have an Ipad you can download SEQUENTIAL for Ipad and get a free Comix Creatrix digital guide.

The 100 comic creators included in the exhition are: Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Alison Bechdel, Alison Sampson, Angie Hofmeister, Angie Mills, Anke Feuchtenberger, Anne Harriet Fish, Annie Goetzinger, Art is a Lie, Asia Alfasi, Audrey Niffenegger, Aurélie William-Levaux, Aya Morton, Barbara 'Willie' Mendes, Barbara Yelin, Blackjack, Brigid Deacon, Carla Speed McNeil, Carol Swain, Cat O'Neil, Catherine Anyango, Chantal Montellier, Charlotte Salomon, Chie Kutsuwada, Claire Bretecher, Claudia Davila, Corinne Pearlman, Dale Messick, Denny Derbyshire, Donya Todd, Eleni Kalorkoti, Ellen Lindner, Emma Vieceli, Evelyn Flinders, Fay Dalton, Florence Cestac , Francesca Ghermandi, Hannah Berry, Hwei Lim, Isabel Greenberg, Jackie Ormes, Jacky Fleming, Joana Estrela, Josceline Fenton, Julie Doucet, Karrie Fransman, Kate Beaton, Kate Brown, Kate Charlesworth, Kate Evans, Katie Green, Kaveri Gopalakrishnan, Kripa Joshi, Laura Callaghan, Laura Howell, Leela Corman, Leila Abdul Razzaq, Lily Renee, Lizz Lunney, Lorna Miller, Lynda Barry, Lynn Paula Russell, Manjula Padmanabhan, Marcia Snyder, Maria Stoian, Marie Duval, Marion Fayolle, Mary Darly, Maya Wilson, Miriam Katin, Nadine Redlich, Naniiebim, Nell Brinkley, Nicola Lane, Nicola Streeten, Nina Bunjevac, Pat Tourett, Patrice Aggs, Philippa Rice, Posy Simmonds, Rachael Ball, Rachael House, Ramona Fradon, Reina Bull, Reshu Singh, Roz Chast, Rutu Modan, Sarah Lightman, Shirley Bellwood, Simone Lia, Sophie Standing, Suzy Varty, Tarpe Mills, Tijuana Bibles by Horizontal Press, Tillie Walden, Tove Jansson, Trina Robbins, Tula Lotay, and Una.

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