By Yolanda Salazar
La Paz, Aug 16 (EFE).- The work of about 20 female illustrators and cartoonists, most of them Bolivian, has been gathered into a book that has also been translated into the Quechua and Aymara languages and which aims both to raise the profile of these women and open up more literary space for their talents.
The book is titled “Las viñetas se dibujan en femenino” (Cartoons drawn with a feminine touch), an anthology that emerged in 2019 from the 17th edition of the International “Viñetas con Altura” Festival, which specifically featured the work of female illustrators, the director of the “Con Altura” publishing house, Alexandra Ramirez, told EFE.
The book was published in 2020 but has been newly released by the La Paz International Book Fair, which was also devoted to female writers.
“The idea of the book, more than anything, is for people to become aware and see the work of women, which is the important thing, (and) for more people to get to know the work women do and how they develop it in this environment,” Ramirez said.
She added that it is necessary to address the viewpoints of both men and women and that at this time it’s important to “listen to both voices,” and thus the book is designed to display the “voices” of a number of female illustrators.
“There’s a lot that women have to say in a different way and also with a very different sensitivity,” Ramirez said.
The book features the work of cartoonists Alejandra Andrade, Susana Villegas, Avril Filomeno, Roxan Torrez, Alejandra Salvatierra, Diana Caceres, Diana Cabrera and Alejandra Lunik, a Chilean who has settled in Argentina.
In addition, illustrators such as Claudia Gorena, Antagonica Furry, Fabiola Varnoux, Genesis Gardiazabal, Geraldine Csapek, La Hef, Merlina Anunnaki, Daniela Peterito, Sofia Cueto and Argentine Pupi Herrera are also included in the work.
The themes these illustrators focus on in their work are many and varied, each one chose what they would deal with and many choosing to provide an introspective look at various issues in their work while others have tried to develop gender roles, deal with street harassment of women or access to jobs, while all the time showcasing their own narrative style.
THe book is also available in Quechua and Aymara via QR codes that redirect interested readers to a Web page where a voice translates the cartoons and illustrations into those languages, along with the various dialogues.
“This helps our audiences to be able to access these new formats,” said Wara Godoy, who wrote the book’s preface.
“Our generation doesn’t enjoy the luxury of brushing over feminism. We’re building a story from our own lives to foster an environment in which girls can identify with stories that push them to break gender stereotypes,” Godoy says in her introduction to the book.
Ramirez, meanwhile, said she hopes that this anthology will be the “starting point” for many more that feature the work of women so that further space can be opened up for their illustrative and narrative talents.
In addition, a second book is also being contemplated, this one potentially dealing with “adult” themes.
The book was produced with the support of the Organizacion de Estados Iberoamericanos para la Educacion, la Ciencia y la Cultura (OEI – Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture).
The OEI, founded in 1949, is an intergovernmental organization for co-operation in the fields mentioned in the context of global development, democracy and regional integration.