Patricia Silva submitted her zine, Larker, into this years Art Exchange Program. The larker Anthology focuses on increasing the visibility of bisexual culture through the artists and activists that make up their community. She included such a detailed letter of explaination I asked her if I could post it here.
To learn more about the Larker Anthology:
Letter of Explanation BY Patricia Silva
Larker Anthology is an independent large format art zine celebrating the visual and cultural heritage of the resilient communities under the bisexual umbrella. Published annually in New York City since 2013, each issue of Larker features artists, writers, activists, and educators who are out as bisexual. As with most, if not all, bisexual organizations and groups the term bisexual will be used as an inclusive community term to mean romantic and/or sexual attraction to more than one gender (including pansexual, fluid, omnisexual, and queer self-identifications).
Larker utilizes photography to showcase bi affirmative visibility and to communicate visual and cultural markers of bi consciousness and achievement on a global level. Historically, bisexual people are erased through omission or by being categorized as gay/lesbian/straight. We are constantly writing ourselves into narratives that erase our contributions, marginalize our experiences and identities, but most importantly: use harmful definitions of our orientation that don’t come from within our communities. There is one (volunteer-run) national organization (BiNet USA) and several online magazines and newsletters dedicated to bisexual socio-political issues, but there hasn’t been a centralized form collecting how we define our visual culture.
For a group that is constantly told we don’t exist, or that we need to pick sides for everyone else’s political convenience, I found it imperative to have not just a record of bisexual culture, but also an ongoing, broad, living visibility project around how we define ourselves, internally and externally. Larker Anthology was created to give space and shape to bisexual visual language, and culture.
Why is visibility important?
Because the ongoing discrimination that bisexual people face in our everyday lives has negative consequences. Studies show that bisexual people are vulnerable to poverty, discrimination, poor physical and mental health—at rates higher than our lesbian and gay siblings. Currently in the U.S., there are no providers offering support specifically for the bisexual population.
According to a 2014 study by BiNetUsa:
This is why I make Larker Anthology: to give shape and space to an affirmative and inclusive bisexual consciousness. Ending stigma and promoting inclusivity and clarity among individuals who have a negative understanding of bisexuality regardless of orientation is critical to Larker Anthology. Printed copies means visibility. Printed copies would mean inclusion in spaces that typically can’t afford (or don’t consider/don’t know how) to include the B in LGBT. Placing these issues in academic archives makes this content available to researchers/scholars/academics, but more importantly: available to younger generations who grow up hearing only stigmas around bisexuality, and sexual minorities in general.
This is volume 1 of (so far) 3 volumes of the on-going zine "In All That Brown the Sun Went Down" created by artist Christina Kelly of Brooklyn, NY. The cover of each zine is hand printed by the artist.
Christina describes her zines as:
This comic/zine is about the life and loves of Margaret Wise Brown. She was the author of many classic children's books including Goodnight Moon (1947) and The Runaway Bunny (1942). She was part of an innovative moment in children's literature that worked to capture the direct language and everyday experience of childhood.
The comic is loosely based on Brown's fascinating life. It's framed around imagined sessions with her real-life Freudian analyst, Dr. Robert Bak. With Dr. Bak she examines the tempestuous 10-year love affair with a woman twice her age, her frustration at not being to write successfully for adults, and the animosity she endures from the powerful children's book librarian at the NYPL.
All the characters in the comic are hand drawn as rabbits, appearing at the same time to be both childlike and grown up, symbolizing the ways childhood shapes adult relationships.
To learn more about Christina and her zine, visit:
Yuqi is originally from China but now is mostly settled in New York city. Currently a student in School of Visual Arts in the Illustration department, Yuqi makes zines that are a fun, surreal, and an inventive read
"Both of my zines are about giving personalities to animals. The penguin one was actually the very first zine I've ever made. It came with several different colors, and I picked my favorite one to send to you. I think it represented RISO colors beautifully. The story behind was that one day I went to the aquarium and saw those adorable penguins. They seemed so used to people starring. They seemed lazy. They seemed like middle-aged men who had really caring wives so that they could do nothing on workdays except lying on the most sunny rocks beside the beach.
The second one was about the revenge of a Teddy bear. Well, not exactly a revenge, but a switch of the point of view from human to a Teddy bear, which humans became toys. It was pretty scary to be a toy controlled by others instead of a master of one's own life."
Learn more here:
The author, Porad Gasan-zade, says about My Angry Cat from Space:
My zine was created out of my combined love for space and animals .. especially cats. The story takes us to space for a few brief moments, where a weirdly shaped comet makes its haphazard connection with Earth (destroying many random New York buildings in the process). After the smoke clears, a curious gal (my shameless self-insert) investigates the crash site and discovers that Earth's latest nuclear hazard is ... a giant cat. Pleasantries aside, the girl makes an offer that the alienated feline cannot refuse: fast food. Anyone would hold off control of the planet for a Big Mac, right? Unfortunately, in a ridiculous tum of events, things do not go as planned.
To summarize, this zine was both a challenge and a fun trip to create - organizing the various colors into their respective shapes was probably the hardest part. In terms of story, the zine is not meant to be taken deeply; in most of my work, I usually cloak dark pasts and inner personalities with colorful and laughable characters. This zine, however, was a pleasant experience in making a story without a particular meaning. Why can't a story just be plain nonsense? It's not to say that deep stories are not enjoyable to me; they arc what I strive to be good at. What I want to say is, is that people need to let go of seriousness sometimes.
(But hey, if you find a particular morale in a giant purple cat having a tantrum over fast food, I'm not judging).
To learn more about Porad Gasan-zade:
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