Last September I had the great good fortune to be part of a 10-day residency in Angoulême in France, one of the initiatives of a Creative Europe Project called Wom@rts. Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex was the keystone text for inspiration for our work.
Each of us had to create two pieces of art suitable for exhibition – I chose to create a comic book narrative over the two pages, which I wrote, pencilled, inked, coloured (using colouring pencil) and hand lettered directly onto the pages. I only have a scan of the original piece, of which the above image is a snippet.
The story I created was called ‘Interview with a Sphinx’, and here’s my artistic statement for the piece:
I’m primarily a prose and comic book writer so this work was a challenge as I had to develop a character and visual narrative that I could complete with my skill set and within the time frame. Simone de Beauvoir’s work was hugely inspiring, and I was struck by the quote ‘A woman is not a fixed reality but a becoming’. My writing is always inspired by mythology, and I often ponder the way stories are told by past generations to justify their methods of control.
The Sphinx is a powerful hybrid creature of many parts and in the original story serves as a metaphor for the ‘monstrous regiment of women’. I think it unlikely that such a fabulous beast could be toppled by a man solving a simple riddle. A Sphinx, at peace with her diverse nature and aware of her power, would not be easily overcome or fooled. People who accept their dynamic natures are a force to be reckoned with in this world.
Those fond of mythology will note that I’ve modified the ‘traditional’ look of the Sphinx, but that’s the great power of art and fiction: we can transform the narrative.
The work is now being prepared for its roaming international exhibition, and its first location is in Maribor Slovenia.
All the work from the three residencies have been divided into two exhibitions, both of which will take place in UGM Studio, Trg Leona Štuklja 2, Maribor.
The first exhibition will run from 8 March – 13 April.
The second exhibition will run from 26 April – 1 June, and my work will be part of this cohort.
The artists included in the second exhibition are:
Participating artists from the Digital Media Residency:
- Petra Mrša (Rijeka, Croatia)
- Mery Pais (Santiago de Compostela, Spain)
- Teresa Búa (Muxía, Spain)
- Shelagh Honan (Ireland)
- Lorraine Neeson (Ireland)
- Martta Tuomaala (Lieto, Finland)
Participating artists from the Printmaking Residency:
- Mina Fina (Slovenia)
- Melinda Kostelac (Rijeka, Croatia)
- Marta Fermín (Oviedo, Spain)
- Jo Kelley (United Kingdom)
- Louise Mendoche (Valence, France)
Participating artists from the Illustration & Comics Residency:
- Raquel Lagartos (Oviedo, Spain)
- Xulia Vicente (Cariño, Spain)
- Maura McHugh (Galway, Ireland)
- Akvilė Magicdust (Vilnius, Lithuania)
- Scotty Hervouet (France)
There will be a public presentation and exhibition preview from 11.00 – 13.30 on Thursday, 25 April moderated by the curator of the exhibition, Breda Kolar Sluga.
Plus there will be a public guided tour one hour before the opening at 18:00 on Wednesday, 26 April conducted by Breda Kolar Sluga.