Friday, 25 May 2018

HERO(ine)S – a New Exhibition on Gender and Comics

Since the early days of the comic genre, female protagonists have been few and far between. Approximately one in four female comic characters are female, and even those characters often have passive or minor roles. The Hero(ine)s exhibition (which we recently hosted in our Vallum Gallery) aims to challenge, question and subvert our perceptions of the comic hero. 

The exhibition features original artworks where comic artists have been challenged to reinvent their chosen male superhero in female form and contribute a narrative to explain their choice of heroine and their perceptions of how women are represented in the comic genre. Artists include Steven Appleby, Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, Finnish artist Kaisa Leka, Swiss artist Hélène Becquelin and Belgian comic artist Brecht Vandenbroucke.

Don't worry if you missed it, the exhibition  will return again as part of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal, Cumbria 12–14 October. 

Nick Dodds, Senior Lecturer at The University of Cumbria, said, “The opportunity to host Hero(ine)s is a fantastic coup for the university. The theme of the exhibition, exploring gender roles through the eye of the comic artist, appears timely and pertinent given recent news stories. The 'alternate' take on the typically male comic-hero by the artists featured in the exhibition is done with wit, humour and a certain knowingness - asking the viewer to question cultural attitudes to gender representation, myth and narrative.”

As part of the Hero(ine)s exhibition, there was an opportunity for students to take part in creator workshops led by international comic artists Steven Appleby and Kaisa Leka.

Here are some photos of the workshops, lectures and exhibition all taken by Rachel Miller (R. Miller - Copyright: creative commons)

An Instagram campaign #heroinesproject encourages comic enthusiasts to draw and share their own heroines. A selection of these drawings will be displayed at the Lakes International Comics Arts Festival in October. You'd best get drawing!


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