From The Narratology of Comic Art (Routledge, 2017) by Kai Mikkonen. Abstract by author: Conversation is a basic element in the medium of comics, where much of the narrative appeal is derived from the interplay between dialogue and action. The speech balloon, a favoured visual symbol for voice and utterance in the medium since the mid-twentieth century, has become a symbol for comics. In Italian, famously, the word fumetto—the word for a speech or thought balloon—also refers to the art form itself, whether in the form of a comic strip or a comic book. In fact, dialogue is such a central feature in the medium that it may sometimes be difficult to think of it as a distinct element. A character who speaks his thoughts aloud when apparently nobody is listening is a much-used convention, and many comics, for instance, ‘talking heads’ or humoristic comic strips that deliver a verbal gag, focus on speaking. Perhaps paradoxically, dialogue scenes may be more distinguishable when their use is more restricted, for instance, in comics when action is predominant and only occasionally interrupted by a scene of talk or when first-person verbal narration is predominant, as in autobiographical comics that occasionally lapse into dialogue. Republished via CC BY-NC-ND.
4 SHADOWS: A Solo Exhibition by Azim Hassan — A Kashmiri Artist Looks Back from Hangzhou, China
Inverse Journal introduces “4 Shadows”, Azim Hassan’s solo exhibition recently held at Daye Art Gallery in Hangzhou, China. The exhibition gathered ten years of Azim’s work, from the Anantnag native’s early days in Kashmir to more recent creative explorations from his years in Hangzhou.
Tricking a Text Into Speaking Your Language — Sixteen Blackout Poems by Asma Firdous
Kashmiri blackout artist Asma Firdous presents sixteen blackout poems and works of word art that she has produced over a specific time. The piece comes with an extensive introduction by Amjad Majid (titled “Blackout Poetry in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: An Editor’s Introduction”) to familiarize viewers and readers with this artform and a statement by the poet and artist herself followed by the sixteen blackout poems.
Between the Personal and the Political — Two Art Projects by Akshay Sethi
In Akshay Sethi’s artistic oeuvre, the artwork can become a site of excavation, revelation and disambiguation, bringing forth visuals of that which otherwise remains undermined, ignored, unnoticed and relegated to a process of continued invisibilization—one that exists at the core of the everyday and the quotidian. Here the Delhi-based emerging artist presents a collection of his own works divided into two projects, with proper introductions and a few summarized commentaries about each set of works as part of Inverse Journal’s initiative to have artists of all generations write for themselves and present their work in their own words.
In these works, Sethi explores the fine line between the personal and the political, one that exists in a material form but that goes unperceived were it not for the creative impetus of the artist to frame a re-envisioning of the personal within the political—and vice versa—situated metaphorically in the object of art. Through the artistic medium, the young artist’s practice invites multiple inquiries into what otherwise would simply pass along as “day-to-day happenings” or a series of events confined to news reports and headlines that trend and subside into a collective oblivion or a collective memory—framed and curated by mainstream and mass media—once their trending impact has reached a specific shelf life. It is here that Sethi’s work interjects to excavate for a greater human profundity within the personal and the political to transcend event, subject, group, collective as mere ‘happening on the street’, breaking away from the quotidian limits set upon everyday life by a variety of circumstances and conditions. The result is a poetics that can best be observed in the works themselves as the young artist works to develop and refine his art practice.
To delve deeper into a greater human understanding, Sethi often engages with literature, poetry, news media, contemporary culture and tradition by shaping his works as points of convergence between these while imbuing such works with a spirit of critique where resistance and criticality can take shape in multiple ways. The young artist’s engagement with various forms of literature is essential to the meaning-making that fiction writing offers, in a world where many times sense and sensibility seem lacking or absent.
Drawing Voices From a Well of Silence — Two Illustrative Works by Khytul Abyad
Emerging Kashmiri artist Khytul Abyad brings us two of her illustrative works that can be viewed as standalone pieces or part of a greater patchwork that tells the story of her birthplace. Khytul has operated exclusively in the realm of Kashmiri contemporary art since her recent days as a student, working as a visual artist exploring different mediums and styles to develop a visual vocabulary of her own. Here she presents two pieces that venture into the realm of storytelling via illustration in line with the graphic novel. At the present, the graphic novel has yet to move beyond Sajad’s quintessential “Munnu” that set the stage, with other younger artists exploring the genre and medium through their own visual language and stylistic approaches to visual storytelling. Other visual storytellers who produce comics, political cartoons and illustrations have long maintained their signature styles and visual language without ever having the need or the desire to go into this long-form medium.
Such creative choices notwithstanding within that limited genre, another graphic novel, Naseer Ahmed’s “Kashmir Pending” with illustrations by India Today’s illustrator Suarabh Singh has followed as a work by multiple creators, Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri, reflecting the many directions that the Kashmir-themed or Kashmir-set graphic novel can take. However, as far as a graphic novel by one author and that too a young woman artist is concerned, Khytul’s artistic explorations presented here show promise in broadening the genre of the Kashmiri graphic novel even further, with an amplified diversification of sorts brought about in just over half a decade. With such considerations in mind, here are two storyboarded tales of fiction that permeate into a reality that is all too familiar to many Kashmiris. Such stories are located within the forgotten corridors of Kashmir’s everyday life, remaining unexpressed, silenced and made invisible up until young artists like Khytul engage their artistic sensibilities and artcraft to excavate the memory, experiences, and the lives of others, otherwise relegated to oblivion and brought to the fore by artistry such as Khytul Abyad’s.
This piece includes a note from the artist and relevant links from press (courtesy of Inverse’s bibliographic approach) to familiarize viewers/readers about this young artist’s work.
Paintings like Postcards in Solidarity from Across the LOC — by Iram Razzaq
UK-based artist Iram Razzaq, who was born and raised in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (Azad Kashmir), presents eleven of her paintings inspired by the 2010 uprising in Kashmir valley where more than 112 civilians, most of them school children, teens and youngsters, were killed in the protests of that gruesome year. Razzaq was motivated by a need to build solidarity and express the anguish that she felt in becoming aware of the horrors perpetrated on Kashmiris by the Indian Armed Forces during the protests that shook the entire valley and resulted in almost daily killings, injuries and damage to property, apart from the months long curfew that brought Kashmir to a halt.
Exhuming the Ideological Corpse of Soviet Socialism: Marat Raiymkulov — by Maya Kóvskaya
Art critic, curator and theorist Maya Kóvskaya presents the Pol Pot series of drawings by Kyrgyz contemporary artist Marat Raiymkulov, providing a broad perspective into understanding the artist’s work in its post-Soviet Central Asian context. The article discusses the relevance of the Pol Pot set of drawings and “hand-drawn animations” (displayed here in video form) to reflect on the multiple ways in which Marxism and Leninism embedded itself in everyday Central Asian life and continued to exert its influence on the region and on its peoples during the post-Soviet era. Kóvskaya explains how Raiymkulov effectively employs his unique visual language to explore the ways that “people live within an ideological field” brought about by a Marxist-Leninist cultural legacy in contemporary Kyrgyzstan. In contextualizing Raiymkulov’s work, Kóvskaya brings our attention to the great details embedded within the artist’s oeuvre that further uncover the greater complexities of his place of origin along with reflections on questions of ideology, state, nationhood, community, discourse, the “social power of Capital,” among others. The article is accompanied here by captioned images from the artist’s work along with five animations in video format that integrate the Pol Pot series.
Massacres and Home: An Art Installation at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale — by Ahmed Muzamil
Ahmed Muzamil presents an introduction to his work exhibited at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2018). The young artist prepared an installation to commemorate the anniversary of the Gawkadal Massacre where more than 50 people were shot by Indian soldiers during a peaceful protest. The installation involves a series of photographs in light boxes, recorded testimonies from survivors and witnesses played back in a loop and a 100kg bag of ash placed in a specific manner to create a space where death, mourning and remembrance are contemplated in what can be considered a “funerary chamber,” considering the manner in which the installation has been set up. An artist statement for the work along with a video of the installation, some visuals and sound recordings are provided here courtesy of the artist.
Black on Black — by Eugene Thacker
Should we consider black a colour, the absence of colour, or a suspension of vision produced by a deprivation of light? Beginning with Robert Fludd’s attempt to picture nothingness, Eugene Thacker reflects* on some of the ways in which blackness has been used and thought about through the history of art and philosophical thought.