Word on the Street

I’ve been meaning to blog about this for ages – but fortunately the Queen of England realised how behind with blogging all her subjects were, and decreed that we should all have a four day weekend to catch up.

Here’s the exciting news: my first ever solo exhibition, and it’s at a remarkable place called the Workers Gallery in Rhondda Valley, Wales.

A poster for the exhibition with a female marcher holding up a sign saying 'Word on the Street' plus details of dates and location.

I’ll be showing largescale printouts of some of the protester images from my book Sorry For The Inconvenience, We Are Trying To Save The World – despite recent disappointing events in Parliament, it’s to stand as a celebration of our right to protest.

As if this wasn’t enough to look forward to, I’ll be visiting the gallery in the first couple of days of the exhibition to:

1. Talk about the book and the Draw the Line project, with a wider theme of how to bring about change through comics;

2. Run a zine workshop, showing how you can easily make ‘quick and dirty’ comics that get a point across

3. Most excitingly of all, from my point of view anyway — gather memories, photos and thoughts about protest from local residents, which I’ll make into a comic after my visit.

I’m so thrilled by this last one for a few reasons: it’s exactly the kind of comic I want to be making, wrapping together as it does a bit of social history and first-person stories which I’ll put into a sketch diary type format. It’s also an opportunity to draw more around protest, which is a well that definitely hasn’t run dry for me.

That said, it’s a bit of a leap into the unknown, which in itself is thrilling, if nervewracking: what if no-one has any stories to share? I think I’ll be ok no matter what, and am always happy making a comic about a trip, the people I meet and everything I learn about the area.

I was so pleased to be approached by the Workers, and over the past few months, co-owner Gayle and I have been emailing back and forth with ideas that have gradually become more concrete. Every email seems to bring more evidence of what a remarkable institution it is in the small community of Ynyshir, with talk of an electric cargo bike taking books and comics round to rural residents who might not easily be able to pop in, an inspiring roster of past exhibitions and a feel that it’s a real hive of activity in a place that very much benefits from having such a lively cultural centre.

Right now there’s a comics exhibition on, ‘All Is Not Well‘ – experiemental comics about care, with Cardiff University. This picture from the Workers’ Twitter makes me wish I could go and have a look around right now!

Several comic strips displayed on a white gallery wall
All Is Not Well exhibition – photo by the Workers Gallery

So that’s my big news, and something I’m massively looking forward to. Today I have been playing around making zines, because if I’m going to be showing other people how to make them I’d darn well better know what I’m doing!

No doubt I’ll have more to share on the subject soon, not to mention lots more to say about the exhibition as it gets ever nearer.

Published by Myfanwy Tristram

I am an illustrator, situated in Brighton on the south coast of England, and with a special interest in comics and graphic memoir. I also work for a non-profit which encourages people to be active in democracy and to exercise rights such as the right to information through FOIA.

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