Varoom 38

The Activism Issue



Varoom 38 The Activism Issue: Contents

Virtual Vandal

Can members’ clubs for ‘creative types’ be toppled by bricks flying through their windows? Anna Steinberg finds out why Seb Chaloner is challenging exclusivity, and how to animate breaking glass.

What does activism look like?

Designer and curator Margaret  talks to Olivia Ahmad about how graphics and illustration are vital tools for fighting power and misinformation, both online and on the streets.

Contested Space

Do collaborations with property developers offer valuable and mutually beneficial opportunities to creatives and communities?  Or do they simply ‘artwash’ actions that undermine the diversity of cities? Emily Jost, founder member of Artists Against Social Cleansing and Ian Whadcock, Senior Lecturer in Illustration with Animation at Manchester School of Art give their views.

“I” Before “We”

Across the Middle East, new generations of cartoonists, are speaking directly to their fellow citizens by addressing social, political and personal issues and writing in the varied languages of the everyday. Paul Gravett uncovers the New Wave of Arab Comics and meets Samandal, the comics collective battling state censorship and prosecution to tell their stories.

Street Artivism

Combining large-scale murals with political and social messages, Mexican duo Himed & Reyben tell Tristan Manco about street art, stencilling and being censured.

It’s got to be real

From getting it really wrong, to getting it kind of right, Stuart Lang assesses how the credibility of brands can be in the balance when adopting movements for equality and empowerment as part of their promotional activities

Activism By Numbers

Extracted from government data, statistics on society are the raw material for Mona Chalabi’s information graphics. Working on issues from wage inequality to abortion, the journalist and illustrator clarifies the complex to inspire change.

Book Building

Progressive politics are at the heart of Indian publisher Tara Books – from their feminist retellings of religious stories to their championing of tribal art and the craft of book making.  Founder Gita Wolf and artist Bhajju Shayam explain their process.

Land for sale?

Selling off the Green Belt is a contentious proposition, raising questions about the value of open space and its need for protection. Through an invented properties company, illustrator Jon Halls opened up debate online and in a potentially contested space.

Pictures Mean Business: Where credit is due

A positive campaign to persuade publishers and the wider industry to credit picture book illustrators, Pictures Mean Business was launched by illustrator and author Sarah McIntyre to emphasise the economic benefits of making illustrators being as visible as writers

Public Realm: Merciless Geometry

Canada’s undocumented migrants are housed in banal buildings designed to be invisible. Luise Vormittag explores Tings Chaks ‘graphic documentary’ which uses architectural and comic book conventions to tell the hidden story of migrants’ spaces.

Reportage: Albany Without Polar Bears

Activist and comic maker, Seth Tobocman’s powerful storytelling describes the fight against trains transporting gas through Albany, New York, where residents are already struggling with the oil industry’s toxic fallout