On this weekend comic artist Kaisa Leka will visit the Lakes International Comics Art Festival in Kendal. Leka told us about her programme for the weekend.
You’ll speak on Friday Sessions -panel, with a topic “You could also look normal if you’d just wear pants”. What’s the talk about?
“I’m going to talk about normality. For decades, I’ve been living as an abnormal in the Normalland so I’ve had plenty of opportunities to observe the Normals. I’ll share my notes on the Normals and try to understand their odd behaviour.”
You have a presentation on Sunday. What’s it about?
“I’m going to talk about the book Imperfect, which is a travel diary from my cycling tour from New York to San Francisco. I made the trip with my loyal sherpa Christoffer, in the summer of 2016. The book consists of 104 postcards, which we sent to Finland from our journey.”
You are one of the comic artists who have updated classic male comic heroes to female versions for the international Hero(ine)s project that will also be shown at the festival. You recreated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Why did you choose them?
“I have a lot of Turtles cartoons at home, and I used to watch them on TV when I was a child. I used a classical comic book cover as a starting point and placed the characters in one of my favourite spots in New York. I named my turtles after great women in history: Helene (Schjerfbeck), Artemisia (Gentileschi), Frida (Kahlo), and Hildegard (von Bingen). Picking up the names was one of the funniest parts of the project. I could draw a whole turtle army just to salute female geniuses!”
The idea behind Hero(in)es is to challenge the male dominance in comics. Why are there so few female protagonists?
“It’s probably because there are so few female comic artists. In my work, there is automatically a female protagonist, because I make autobiographical comics about my travels, and other things that are important to me. In patriarchy, women haven’t got a major role in art. In heterosexual relationship it is the woman who takes care of kids and home, even if both parents have full-time jobs. One has to be very determined in order to take time for making art.”
What are your expectations for the festival?
“I’m looking forward to spending the weekend at the festival, which I’ve heard only good about. I’d love to meet artists Victoria Lomasko and Seth, but since I admire them, I would probably just giggle and sweat and not be able to talk.”
What would you recommend from the festival’s programme?
“I’ll be super busy in Kendal, but I hope I’ll find time on Sunday to attend The Surreal McCoy’s impressive performance The Wolf of Baghdad – A memoir of a lost homeland, which combines comics and music.”
Presentation: The Wolf of Baghdad – A memoir of a lost homeland, CCT Chamber, Kendal Town Hall, 9a Lowther St, LA9 4DL Kendal. Sunday 14.10. 10:45 am – 11:45 am. https://www.comicartfestival.com/the-wolf-of-baghdad.
The Finnish Institute in London brings Kaisa Leka to the Festival. The Hero(ine)s -exhibition is organised by The Finnish Institute in London, Institut français, Lyon BD Association, Lakes International Comic Arts Festival and the General Representation of The Government of Flanders in Britain.
Here’s how to find Leka during the festival:
Friday Sessions, Panel 2: Communicating through comics, The Malt Room, Brewery Arts Centre, 122a Highgate, LA9 4HE Kendal. Friday 12.10. 2:50 pm–4:00 pm. https://www.comicartfestival.com/friday-sessions https://www.comicartfestival.com/buy-tickets?spektrix_bounce=true. Admission: a day pass for the Friday Sessions 9:15am–5pm costs £15–£20.
Presentation: True force of nation, Studio Theatre, Brewery Arts Centre122a Highgate, LA9 4HE Kendal. Sunday 14.10. 1:15 pm–2:00 pm. https://www.comicartfestival.com/kaisa-leka-true-force-nature.
Hero(ine)s -exhibition, Kendal museum, Station road, LA9 6BT Kendal. https://www.comicartfestival.com/heroines-female-representation-in-comics. 6.10.–12.11.2018. Admission: free during the festival.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal LA9 4HE. https://www.comicartfestival.com/whats-on. 12..–14.10.2018. Admission: £4–£35.