All this talk about women’s bodies these days, but so few listen to the people who matter: women.
In the wake of US abortion laws headlining the front pages of news outlets everywhere, the female body has been the topic of discussion for every person on the planet. Within legislatory bodies where the discussion is quite literally life or death for women, it’s a grim one.
In the all-female edition of Komura; Book Fair 2019, the topic of the female body carries on. But here, it’s much more hopeful.
We talk to artists who tackle the human anatomy and listen to their stories of what it means to them. Their approaches range from the whimsical to the revolutionary, but all are significantly personal. At least here, in a safe space like Komura, women have complete control over their bodies—as they should.
What’s your name?
Katrina Tankeh. I was the zine curator for “My Body Is A Revolution,” which is an anthology of erotica poetry, art, prose, and photography.
Can you tell us the meaning of “My Body Is A Revolution”?
The definition of a revolution is basically going against a system, or going against a norm. So when you say “my body is a revolution,” we wanted to go against centuries-old tradition: The woman being property. It used to be a thing in the 1700s. We want to break that and revolt against that idea with the female body. A response to the daily news of young children being raped in provinces, specifically young women [who are] six to 12 years old. What we wanted to do was have writers talk about how women could, or should have control over their bodies, so that’s where it started.
What’s your favorite part about being an independent female creator in these times?
Being surrounded now by fellow female creators. I think it’s a very open community nowadays. Everyone’s welcome. I recently joined two years ago and the community welcomed me. Another one is you have control over your content. Instead of sending your work to a publisher, you can dictate your price, what’s in your zine, how you want to market it, everything is under your control.
What’s your name?
I’m Gabby Javier, I own Plaster Master.
What’s your medium?
Actually, iba-iba. I like to try a lot of things, so I started from plaster, kaya Plaster Master, kaso medyo limiting siya kasi kailangan may sinusundan siyang mold. Lumipat ako sa air-dry, and then polymer clay. Ngayon, hinahalu-halo ko sila minsan para mas may variety.
Feeling ko it’s something na hindi naman dapat tinatago o dapat ashamed of ka, kasi yun ka eh. Babae ka eh. It’s a big part of you.
What’s your favorite thing about being an independent female creator right now?
Sharing [my art] with other people talaga. Gusto ko talaga yung ginagawa ko, tapos gusto kong nakikita yung reaction ng mga tao.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! I’m Dale Magsino, and I’m a watercolor artist. Quote unquote. (laughs) Trying to be. My medium is watercolor and acrylic. Minsan, nilalagyan ko sila ng poetry. Minsan nauuna yung painting, tapos yung poetry. Minsan, baliktad.
Can you tell us about these hands and arms you painted?
This particular one is entitled, “Anong Meron Sa Kawalan?” Yung tulang ito kasi, tungkol sa longing. Nagsimula lang siya isang gabi, napaisip ako kung anong meron sa kawalan. Ang laking tanong niya para sa’kin. Napunta ako sa kung anong meron sa pagkawala ng tao. The image is faceless tapos hands lang siya, kasi yun yung nagli-linger. Yung touch ng hands sa skin. Very bigat. Very emotional siya. Faceless siya kasi hindi na niya kaya i-express pa yung nasa loob niya. Walang wala na siya. Sumabog na siya. Yung natira nalang ay yung lingering memories of touch.
What made you choose to join an all-female fair?
Actually it’s an accident. (laughs) My friend introduced Komura; to me, tapos ‘di niya nabanggit na all-female fair siya. I registered. They e-mailed me. Then I read the brief that it was all-girls. Tapos I e-mailed an apology, isang sobrang habang apology, that it was a misunderstanding. I explained that I was biologically born male, but I identify as non-binary or queer. Komura replied, and they said, “So you’re non-binary. You’re not male, you’re not female. We welcome that here in Komura. We welcome every kind of femininity,” and I was so touched! Like sobrang haba din ng reply ko sa kanila. Sobrang validating. I just came out last December. Ang hirap. Pinili kong maging non-binary kasi ayoko na ng constraints sa sarili ko. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression before kasi ang dami kong nire-repress, kasama na yung identity ko. Kaya din ako nagsimula magbenta ng art at gumawa ng tula, kasi usually yung mga tula ko ay yung kept feelings ko.
What’s your name and your art medium?
I’m Andy Mercado. Part-time ko lang ito kasi I’m a corporate slave. (laughs) I use acrylic and watercolor. I started in calligraphy, pero nag-enjoy kasi ako sa portraiture.
Why are you creating eyes?
I had a guardian before, for five years. Namatay siya because of cancer, and yung mata niya yung pinaka naapektuhan. Gusto ko lagi pag gumagawa ako ng mata, dedicated sa kanya. Nag struggle siya for two years with cancer while her eyes were covered with bandages and all. Malaking bagay sa’kin na for two years, nagampanan niya yung trabaho niya kahit may sariling laban siya nun. Tribute ko nalang sakanya na laging may eyes yung work ko.
Is there anything you want to bring attention to as an artist?
I think since nagsimula yung calligraphy dito, nase-stereotype ito na “sulat lang ‘yan,” at bakit ako magcha-charge ng ganitong price. It’s a struggle, but I like it kasi nakakaisip ako ng ideas kung paano mag stand out para hindi nila isipin na “sulat lang ‘yan.” Pati din sa drawings and portraiture, ang daming halos pare-parehas ng ideas. I think you just have to love yourself, especially your style. That’s what I like about my art. Usually may time na pag commission, pilit ka eh. When I’m joining these kinds of fairs, free na free akong ipakita kung ano yung mga type ko at mga idea ko.
Can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Nicole Lunaria. I’m also behind Curious Creative. I do digital illustrations. I use my iPad or my Wacom for my works.
So why did you choose to draw breasts and butts?
Actually, I drew them out of boredom. My last expo was in Komiket, and my tablemates saw me drawing boobs because I was waiting for customers to come, so I was doodling. I like the reaction I guess, na parang, “Uy dede.” (laughs) Nakakatawa yung reactions. So I used it for a birthday card because ‘di lang babae nakakatanggap ng birthday card kundi pati lalaki, and when I gave it to my cousin who’s a guy, he appreciated it. “Uy, dede,” sabi niya. (laughs) I like how everyone loves it, that it’s a taboo topic that everyone can pitch in or talk about.
What do you like about being a female creator nowadays?
In these times, I guess we have a louder voice. It’s 2019 na, and I think it’s time. It’s time for female artists to have more exposure, be more known, have more gatherings that are focused on feminism, female empowerment. I’m happy to be a part of something like that.
Could you introduce yourself?
Hi! I’m Cai, my artist name is Caiia. I make digital collages, so that’s usually taking non-copyrighted photos, or making my own, and then editing them in Photoshop and putting them together.
Why did you choose to feature a ribcage?
Organs or bones are a pretty common theme in my art. I wanted to do… I don’t remember, but there was one line that I read online that said something about finding someone who makes you feel like flowers are growing in your lungs. I kind of wanted to do my own version of that. Ribs are also aesthetically pleasing to me.
What’s your favorite part about being an independent female creator now?
It’s a little selfish, but digital collages are something I started for myself. It was a hobby. And I think now, specifically in Komura, it’s nice to see that people enjoy my art. Someone told me today, “Oh I really like this piece. It resonated with me.” It feels good that something that I created out of my emotions also have meaning to other people in their own way.