GATHERING OF AUTHORS, WORKSHOPS AND PERFORMANCES
FROM 11TH TO 14TH OCTOBER - EXHIBITIONS UNTIL 11TH NOVEMBER 2012
Ravenna – Various venues
From 11th to 14th October 2012 the eighth Komikazen – International Reality Comics Festival event, curated by the Associazione Mirada and based in the town of Ravenna, will be opening with a preview in Bologna (11th October) and a supplementary signing-off finale entitled Komikazen De Faience (9th – 11th November 2012) in the town of Faenza (RA).
The reality comic, a tool of journalistic narrative, has taken on an important role for critics, scholars and the public at large. The autobiographical, memoirist, historical and reportage tendency towards the real has always been there in many of the great masters of sequential art but it has drawn wide public attention only over the past decade, raising comics to the level of the “major arts”.
After years of inquiry into international comics, for 2012 Komikazen is concentrating on the representation of Italy.
This eighth Komikazen event aims at paying tribute to many of the most authoritative Italian artists, all guests in Ravenna, with the exceptional exhibition New History of Italy in Comics. The guiding image of the festival, the work of Italian illustrator Shout, is inspired by the colours of the Italian flag, turned into a typical village house: red roof, green lawn and balconies, white wall. An old woman leaning on the balustrade of her little terrace tries to remember something but without success, the reflection of a pensive and resigned Italy. Isn’t it a country for old folk?
The only foreign guest is the extraordinary Brazilian artist of Lebanese origins Carlos Latuff, specialised in political satire. Latuff has become an icon in the Arab countries through his work which, in its own way, has documented the events of the Arab spring and, more recently, of Syria. However, nobody is safe from his arrows which are often loosed at western politics too, especially American.
The central event of the festival is the exhibition New History of Italy in Comics, which opens on Saturday 13th October (6 p.m.) at the MAR (City Art Museum, 13 Via di Roma), admission free, until 11th November 2012.
Like the celebrated work edited by Enzo Biagi and published at the end of the seventies, the Ravenna show – with more than 150 original drawings – aims to be an actual historical excursus with images and sounds through the anthological selection of certain plates from works which, over the past ten years, have sought to narrate the story of Italy: a vertical section of a new way of recounting history and stories in the contemporary comic. Plurality of styles, a rich array of powerful forces and the graphic novel format are certainly some of the constituent elements of this Italian New Wave.
Over and above the drawings the exhibition also includes a soundtrack with archive material and the original voices of historic figures and scholars’ comments drawn from documentaries.
All the artists appearing are Festival guests, turning Ravenna into an active forge of encounter and reflection with around 30 artists, including some of the outstanding names on the reality comic scene both nationally and internationally (such as Mannelli, Palumbo and Bacilieri), who will be joined by 20 young artists selected from the national reality comic competition “Reality Draws”, nominated last June.
Unlike Biagi’s opera omnia the Ravenna mosaic of Italy in comic strip concentrates on certain salient personalities and facts of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Portraits of sometimes controversial figures from the worlds of politics, culture or sport, such as Tuono Pettinato’s, Garibaldi, Paolo Bacilieri’s Salgari and the poet Dino Campana by Rocco Lombardi and Simone Lucciola; or again, the ingenious entrepreneur Adriano Olivetti by Riccardo Cecchetti, the writer Primo Levi by Pietro Scarnera, right down to Gramsci, closer to us, by Gianluca Costantini and Elettra Stamboulis. Then there is the political activist and poet of peasant civilisation Rocco Scotellaro by Giuseppe Palumbo and, from the world of sport, the champion cyclist Marco Pantani by Marco Rizzo and Lelio Bonaccorso. Close contemporaneity is traced out through a gallery of our politicians, some of the most merciless portraits in the history of Italian satire, from the hand of Riccardo Mannelli.
Other pieces in the show are drawn from works which report the Histories in schoolbooks, such as Palumbo’s Risorgimento, or which are still discussed with open wounds and mysteries not wholly cleared up, such as the Vajont disaster by Paolo Cossi and Marco Pugliese, the Calvi case by Luca Amerio and Luca Baino, the tragedy of Ustica by Leonora Sartori and the Moro kidnapping by Paolo Parisi. Still in the ‘years of lead’, the story of Pinelli and Calabresi by Bepi Vigna and Mattia Surroz, and the Piazza della Loggia bombing by Francesco Barilli and Matteo Fenoglio.
Wide reflection is dedicated to questions of mafia through the anti-mafia pool figures of Falcone and Borsellino by Manfredi Giffoni; portraits of Peppino Impastato di Rizzo and Bonaccorso, of the magistrate Antonio Caponnetto, by Luca Salici and Luca Ferrara and of the writer and journalist Pippo Fava, another Cosa Nostra victim, immortalised in the book by Luigi Politano and Luca Ferrara.
Right down to topical matters of our own days with the G8 in Genoa by Zerocalcare, and the work of Francesco Barilli and Manuel De Carli dedicated to Carlo Giuliani.
In the Komikazen show, however, history is made not only by leading players but also by ordinary people who reluctantly find themselves caught up in History writ large. This is what unfolds in the pages of Alessandro Tota and Caterina Sansone, dealing with the sufferings of Istrian exiles, and in the work of Sara Colaone who investigates the homophobic repression of the fascist period and, subsequently, of its creeping counterpart in Italian society. Then Costantini’s stories of partisans in Romagna, and Davide Reviati’s work on the tough childhood and adolescence of a group of kids raised in the shadow of the chemical works at Ravenna’s ANIC Village. Right on down to the highly topical subject of job scarcity, setting out from the story of emigrants to Switzerland, again by Colaone, and arriving at the brain drain in Tota’s Yeti. These works depict different generations and epochs, but they share the same homesickness.
Once more under the banner of the contemporary, the festival’s other exhibition concerns the work of three drawing artists. It opens on Friday 12th October at Le Cantine di Palazzo Rava, 117 Via di Roma.
The satirical cartoons of Carlos Latuff (b. Rio de Janeiro 1968 but with strong Arab roots) are like blows to the solar plexus. His work tackles a series of themes including anti-globalisation, anti-capitalism, pacifism and antimilitarism, particularly with regard to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan waged for economic reasons by the United States. Since 2010 he has been deeply involved with the events of the Arab spring – Tunisia, Libya, Egypt – dealing chiefly with the relationship between the revolutionaries and western interference. More recently he has turned to current events in Syria.
Latuff contributes mainly to certain blogs and to the independent information site Indymedia and has been published by a number of Brazilian magazines, by Le Monde Diplomatique, by various Arab sites, by the Saudi Arabian magazine Character and the Lebanese daily Al-Akhabar. He is very well known for his cartoons on the Israel-Palestine conflict and one of his most famous works is the series We’re All Palestinians where the cartoons feature various characters representative of an oppressed people, all with the same speech bubble: “I’m Palestinian.” The situations depicted include black South Africans during Apartheid, Native Americans, Tibetans in China and also the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto, the latter creating him more than a few problems with the Israeli government.
Riccardo Mannelli (b. Pistoia 1955) exhibits a selection from his 1985 work Nicaragua, which many have called the first Italian graphic novel. As well as creating satirical drawings and comics, Mannelli is first and foremost an acute observer of reality. He currently contributes to La Repubblica and Il Fatto Quotidiano.
Side by side with his are several works by Shout (nom de plume of Alessandro Gottardo, b. Pordenone 1977), one of the Italian illustrators best known and appreciated abroad: indeed his international contributions include the New York Times, Washington Post,New Yorker, Wall Street Journal and, in Italy, Internazionale and the publishing house Minimum Fax. Among numerous acknowledgements, in 2009 in New York he was awarded the most prestigious prize in the field of illustration: the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal. With few strokes he succeeds in evoking worlds and conveying messages that reveal stories and points of view: masterful use of colour, form and absences create a narrative.
At the Galleria Mirada (83 Via Mazzini) there is a show by Andrea Zoli (b. Faenza 1984), winner of the Komikazen 2011 competition, dealing with the strange world of football fanatics in the town of Cesena. On the occasion of the festival a book will be brought out by the publisher Comma 22. The purpose of this prize, set up by the Festival, is to discover top talents and give them the chance to create their first book.
So for the duration of the Festival Ravenna will become a forge of encounters, reflections and round tables, given the practically unique occasion of having, in the same place, different generations of drawing artists, comic artists and leading scriptwriters representative of the Italian scene. There will be numerous presentations and round tables with authors, on Friday and Saturday, concluding on Sunday with a convention dedicated to biography and its representation. As always there will be a special section devoted to workshops, guided tours and meetings with authors and young history scholars, organised for high schools and involving more than a thousand students.
This year, moreover, Komikazen is also the final event in the national competition “Reality Draws”, set up last spring for the promotion of young Italian reality comics artists. The first selection from many participants throughout Italy allowed 21 young artists to attend the intensive workshop in June at the Centro Andrea Pazienza in Cremona (all of them have some works in the main festival exhibition). From this shortlist the commission then declared 6 winners who were awarded prizes in the various competition sections as follows: Reality Book, Nicola Gobbi (artist, b. Ancona 1986) and Jacopo Frey (scriptwriter, b. Ancona 1987) who, for the publishers Comma 22, will be creating a comic book on the life of Upper Adige statesman Alexander Langer to be presented at the 2013 Komikazen event. For the Artist’s Residence the winner is Elena Guidolin (b. Vicenza 1985) whose works will be shown at the Galleria Miomao in Perugia. The judges further assigned a special non-competition Prize to the very young Vincenzo Cardona Albini (b. Rome 1995) who was able to publish one of his stories in the Komikazen 2012 catalogue.
For the Reportage Prize, Serena Schinaia (b. Taranto 1986) and Valentina Capobianco (b. Turin 1979) joined the Ponte Radio Group in activities of kids’ theatre in difficult territories, describing the experience in comics reportage which will be published by a national magazine. The narration of their experience is the subject of a meeting in Bologna on Thursday 11th October, the Festival preview. In Bologna there will also be an exhibition of original drawings published in the magazine Giuda N° 4, dedicated to Afghanistan.
From 9th to 11th November, the final supplement to the Festival, entitled Komikazen De Faience, will be held in Faenza (RA) with meetings and performances in various parts of the town: three days in which comics and drawing will be at the heart of presentations, performances and also dinners at restaurants in the town centre.
Guest 2012: Luca Amerio | Luca Baino | Francesco Barilli | Paolo Bacilieri | Lelio Bonaccorso | Riccardo Cecchetti | Sara Colaone | Paolo Cossi | Gianluca Costantini | Manuel De Carli | Matteo Fenoglio Luca Ferrara | Manfredi Giffoni | Carlos Latuff | Rocco Lombardi | Simone Lucciola | Riccardo Mannelli | Giuseppe Palumbo | Paolo Parisi | Luigi Politano | Tuono Pettinato | Marco Pugliese | Davide Reviati | Marco Rizzo | Luca Salici | Caterina Sansone | Leonora Sartori | Pietro Scarnera | Shout | Elettra Stamboulis | Mattia Surroz | Alessandro Tota | Bepi Vigna | Andrea Vivaldo | Zerocalcare | Andrea Zoli
Some information about the festival.
Mirada has organised extensive exhibitions and workshops with comic-strip writers such as Joe Sacco, Marjane Satrapi, Aleksandar Zograf, Danijel Zezelj, and many others. It has organised the Komikazen International Reality Comic Festival each year since 2005.
The need to 'tell it as it is' is becoming urgent in an era in which it is becoming ever more difficult to understand whether or not what we are being told is reliable and truthful.
In the world of comics, characterised through antonomasia by the patina of careless people, an imaginative source of the fantastic and absolutely unreal, the trend of real story telling is, when all is said and done, fairly old (obviously in the meaning that this adjective can have when we are speaking of this medium). The autobiographical, memoir oriented, historic and news reporting tendency has always been present and has always been ingrained in many of the grand masters of sequential art.
Komikazen is the promoter of the European and Mediterranean circuit of comic art and research of which are a part: Periscopages Association _ Rennes (France) , Babel – Atene (Greece),
Comica – London (UK), Chili cum Carne - Lisbon (Portugal), Boom Festival – St. Petersburg (Russia) and La Maison du Livre – Beirut (Lebanon)
The following have been guests of Komikazen: Raul, Felipe H. Cava, Khamel Khelif, Tomaz Lavric, Nicole Schulman, Phebe Gloeckner, the Turkish comic writers of the magazine Le Man, Stripburger, Filipe Abranches, Marcos Farrajota, Le Dernier Cri, Ho Che Anderson, Stefano Ricci, Samir Harb, Federico Del Barrio, Nadim Tarazi with the Lebanese comic writers, Anke Feuchtenberger, Giuseppe Palumbo, Vittorio Giardino, Paolo Bacilieri, Dave McKean, Davide Toffolo, Carlos Trillo and Peter Kuper, Amir & Khalil, Morvandiau, Seth Tobocman, Magdy El Shafee, Frédéric Coché, Olivier Deprez, Pino Creanza, Ganzeer, Barrak Rima, Giancarlo Ascari, Matteo Guarnaccia, Fabio Sera, Helena Klakočar