In Rome the first exhibition in Europe dedicated to the greatest female cartoonists in history

Palazzo Merulana in Rome hosts the first exhibition in Europe dedicated to twenty-five female comic book artists who have made history in North American comics.

Exhibiting for the first time in Europe twenty-five female comic book artists who have made history in North American comics: from May 28 to July 11, 2021 Palazzo Merulana in Rome hosts Women in Comics, curated by Kim Munson and Trina Robbins, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Italy and co-produced by ART! Festival and Comicon.

After New York in 2020, at the Gallery of the prestigious Society of Illustrators, the exhibition comes to the Italian capital: this is intended to be a history of self-determination of North American comics with ninety original works. From the vintage comics of the 1950s to the more authorial graphic novel through twenty-five female protagonists who explored themes such as love, sexuality, creativity, discrimination, and independence; it then reaches the psychedelics of the 1970s and underground comics to Marvel and DC Comics.

Alongside the plates of Trina Robbins, a true icon of underground comics and feminist activism who, in 1986, was the first cartoonist in history to draw Wonder Woman for DC Comics, there will be original works by Afua Richardson and Alitha Martinez (both authors and activists, winners of theEisner Award for their work on Marvel’s World of Wakanda, a spin-off series of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther ), by Colleen Doran (who has drawn on texts by screenwriters such as Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore), by Emil Ferris, whose graphic novel My Favorite Thing is Monsters (published in Italy by Bao Publishing) has become a critical and popular publishing success, also awarded the Fauve d’Or at the Angoulême International Festival as “Best Comic of the Year” in 2018, and by Ann Telnaes Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Washington Post. Also: Ebony Flowers (author of Hot Comb, considered one of the best books of 2019), Trinidad Escobar (Filipino cartoonist and poet from San Francisco, where she teaches at the California College of the Arts), Tillie Walden(On a Sunbeam, Bao), Joyce Farmer(Special Exits, Eris Edizioni) and, only for theItalian edition, also the panels of Raina Telgemeier, the bestselling cartoonist with the highest book sales in the U.S. (and the world) and winner of five Eisner Awards, who tackles preadolescent issues in her graphic novels for children.

“This exhibition,” says curator Kim Munson, "is a representation of the wide range and diversity of women working in comics and the many genres in which they are working, whether it be personal memoirs, children’s stories, superhero stories, epic/fantasy genres, or even in graphic journalism and editorial graphics."

“When the U.S. Embassy in Rome proposed to us to bring this exhibition to Italy,” says Stefano “S3Keno” Piccoli, director of ARF! and curator of the Italian edition of Women in Comics, “we were immediately enthusiastic. Not only because it is perfectly consistent with the lines of ethics and human right that we have always expressed with ARF! Festival, but also because of the artistic and cultural level of the authors involved. Moreover, after the highly followed live talks from the United States with the American artists, we are really happy to be able to announce also the in-presence meetings at Palazzo Merulana with five Italian comics professionals such as Katja Centomo, Lorenza Di Sepio, Annalisa Leoni, Maria Grazia Mirabella and Simona Binni and to underline how theaffirmation of an author, even if not explicitly aligned in feminist issues, gender identity, transsexuality, in a historically male and macho environment such as comics publishing, is itself already a great sign of social change, a political act. On this line of reasoning, even my curatorial choice to surprise add Raina Telgemeier’s plates is a very strong sign of this female self-determination!”

In the Palazzo Merulana exhibition hall, director Marisa Stotter’s docu-film She Makes Comics: the never-before-told story of women in the comics industry will be screened in a continuous loop for the first time in Italy.

An online meeting Drawing Power: Telling Violence in Comics with Trinidad Escobar and Rita Petruccioli will be held on Thursday, June 10, with moderation by Casa delle donne Lucha y Siesta. In addition, starting June 3, ARF! Festival will offer five in-person meetings entitled Professione Fumetto (Comics Profession), open to all and with free admission by reservation. It starts on June 3 at 6 p.m. with Katja Centomo and The Writing (idea, ownership, subject and script) to continue on Friday 11 with Lorenza Di Sepio and The Drawing (analog and digital), Friday 18 with Annalisa Leoni and Coloring (and creative applications), Friday 25 with Maria Letizia Mirabella and Graphic lettering to conclude on Friday, July 2 with Simona Binni and Editing (and graphic novelism).

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Credit Colleen Doran

In Rome the first exhibition in Europe dedicated to the greatest female cartoonists in history
In Rome the first exhibition in Europe dedicated to the greatest female cartoonists in history

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