Comix Creatrix: 100 women making comics

The House of Illustration, located right next to Central Saint Martins college, is a very cosy place. Welcoming and lovely, it looks like the home of a female artist in her 20s. It even has those classic cat and dog humour posters all over the entrance hall (which works as a gift shop). It’s the perfect place for an exhibition like Comix Creatrix.

Illustration by Nina Cosford
Illustration by Nina Cosford

The term “comix” is an abbreviation for “underground comix”, which are small press/self-published comic books that challenge the conventional way of producing comics. Whilst “mainstream” publications consider moral themes and publish censored stories, comix depict forbidden contents, including explicit drug use, sexuality and violence.

“Comix Creatrix” promises to change our minds and destroy the “myth” that women do not take place in this artistic movement. Not only it promotes unmentionable social themes in society but also – and mainly – females in this industry, who are “claiming the medium for their own”.

Walking through the exhibition is like entering the world of women.
From everyday life to fantasy, political views to “intimate desires” and sexual harrassment, these women cover all possible subject matters in illustrations.
“Comedy, fantasy and biography are all well represented at Comix Creatrix, but no subject is taboo. Art of protest or with hard hitting social themes will also feature prominently”. (Onanuga, 2016)
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Something else I found interesting about this exhibition was the relevance of time. Women in Comix Creatrix cleary show (often through interesting illustrations strategies) that they too have something to say about the past and the present  but it is in the future that most focus on.
“Women are building worlds in their comics: ultramodern dystopias that serve as warnings. They are envisaging societies and cultures as vital and complex as our own. Their fantasies and futures may seem fanciful, but as allegories they’re often uncomfortably close to the truth”.

Overall, I quite liked the display. “Many people simply choose to believe the persistent, but inaccurate, myth that there are very few female creators in the industry”, says Olivia Ahmad, the co-curator of this exhibition, which seeks to prove otherwise. I may have been one of those people. However, after visiting Comix Creatrix, I feel I’ve been missing out. It definitely presents the female presence in the artistic movement splendidly well and it made me want to go to the nearest library to go through the displayed books.

I strongly suggest everyone to go and see this exhibition at House of Illustration. It is incredibly eye-opening.


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