Den Onödiga Flyktingkrisen

Den Onödiga Flyktingkrisen (The Unnecessary Refugee Crisis) (Migra förlag) has come from the printer!

My contribution to this book is that I made some interior illustrations and they used a color version of one of them for the back cover. So I havenät been very involved in it, but it feels like an extremely important book right now.

I do have some reservations to the perspective of parts of it, that it focuses on the years since 2015 which may misrepresent the situation before that, but they also acknowledge that in some chapters of the book, so that’s ok. It’s nothing that should dissuade anyone from reading it.

Release events are coming up. I may go to the one in Lund if I can make it. Check out the event schedule and ordering information at onodigaflyktingkrisen.se.

Here are a couple of my illustrations:

And a bonus one that didn’t make it into the book:

About six years of cruelty (illustration in Ordfront Magasin)

My latest published work is an illustration in Ordfront Magasin #3/2021, a special issue about the current state of migration policies in Sweden.

(Click image to see bigger version)

The title of the article translates as “Six years of cruelty”, which refers to the changed policies since the “Syrian refugee crisis” back in 2015. Earlier that year, the Swedish prime minister said that he wants to live in a Europe that is open and helpful when people are in need. In the fall, after a few months of massive refugee immigration, he chose to close the borders. They also “temporarily” stopped most permanent permits of residence, while temporary permits are the norm, along with other restrictions making it harder to pass an application for asylum. “Temporarily” in quotations, because that rule is still active 6 years later and we’re not expected to be going back to normal for a while, if ever. A new law that was passed June 22 of 2021, they made things even harsher. For example, they now have a list of “safe countries” from which asylum applications can be denied with a minimum of deliberation. Which would be hard to combine with the rule that you need individual cause when you apply, but I guess it’s easy if the main goal is to deny asylum for as many as possible and everything else is secondary.

So let’s talk about the normal. Because I’ve seen this 6 year thing mentioned a few times now, and it always bugs me. The text goes on to describe how the whole asylum process has become worse. How asylum decisions are arbitrary, how translators sometime don’t even know the language they’re supposed to interpret but the interviews carry on anyway, how cases are decided without even being thoroughly researched, how lawyers who are supposed to represent the interests of asylum seekers don’t take their jobs seriously etc etc. And I’m sure things have become much worse after the laws were changed BUT all these things were true even before 2015.

I understand the need to really look at the current situation and look at how the laws and practices have become much worse in the last few years. But I also think there is a danger in pretending that if we just go back to the situation as it was in 2014, things would be good again. Because they weren’t.

The illustration I made, representing the migration process as a sort of lottery, was inspired not by what’s happened recently but by how it’s been as far back as I’ve had any kind of insight into the whole thing.

Twenty years ago, we protested against the “refugee storage facilities” (flyktingförvar), as detention centres for asylum seekers are dehumanizingly called in Swedish. People had to hide refugees who weren’t allowed to stay but were desperate not to go back to where they came from. Refugee children were apathetic and mentally unreachable from hopelessness and fear. We were protesting what was called Fortress Europe. Sweden sent money and personnel to Frontex, the EU joint border patrol project designed to keep the unwanted out of Europe. Scientifically dubious age assessments were used to deem children to be older than 18 in order to be able to deport them easier without having to (on paper) violate any UN conventions.
Ten years ago, we were protesting mass deportations to Iraq and Afghanistan, basically active warzones. Palestinians who has been without a country to return to, in some cases for their entire lives, were hungerstriking outside the Swedish Migration Agency in hopes that they would be listened to and finally be allowed to have a place to call home. Various government agencies were cooperating with the Police to hunt for undocumented immigrants in special projects that used racial profiling to find the ones they were looking for.
And none of these things are over. None of them are things of the past, even if the names and methods change slightly, but they are also not things of only these last seven years of even more monstrous policies. And if this is how we treat refugees, it’s gonna be even worse for non-refugee migrants.

The neofascist/ultra conservative/nationalist party Sverigedemokraterna haven’t grown to become Sweden’s third biggest party as a response to Sweden being overrun by hordes of foreign rapists, as they would describe it. They’ve grown in a climate where the “normal” parties have pursued increasingly restrictive migration policies for the last 30 years or so, lending normalcy to anti-immigrant sentiments simply by realizing those sentiments through laws and governmental praxis.

Arbitrary and legally insecure are definitely words to describe the current state of the migration system, and it needs to change. As it has been for a long time, it’s just extra worse right now.

Anyway, if you want to know more (and if you read Swedish), go get the latest issue of Ordfront Magasin. Even if the “six years” rhetoric makes me angry, it is something that needs to be talked about from perspectives other than the currently dominating “immigrants are the cause of all crime and terrorism and all the other bad things” delusion.

The New Frontier

Today, the new Tusen Serier exhibition opens at Hybriden.

It’s a sci fi project about border politics that also touches on other subjects. It was started by Open Art Week as a collaboration between Tunisian and Italian comic creators, as the first of (so far) two such exhibitions. We got the opportunity to join and expand upon their concept with artists from the network connected to Tusen Serier and Hybriden.

The showcased artists in the Tusen Serier edition are:
Elida Maiques
Korina Hunjak
Julia Nascimento
Felipe Kolb Bernardes
Leviathan
Ana Biscaia
Amalia Alvarez

and me

You can see the exhibition now at hybriden.se

It’s been some work with coordination, programming etc, but it feels real good to be part of this project.

Here are a few panels from my contribution:

To be continued in the exhibition…


La nuova frontiera (The new frontier) was initiated and produced by OPEN ART WEEK.
In partnership with: Biblioteca delle Nuvole (IT), Lab619 (TN), Fokus Illustration (CH) Tusen Serier (SE), Hybriden (SE).
Artistic coordination: Claudio Ferracci and Abir Gasmi.
The Tusen Serier edition of The new frontier is presented with support from Malmö Kulturnämnd.


Also, here’s the poster I made…

First try at risoprinting

Me and Kinga were invited to represent Fanzineverkstaden at a workshop at MaU (Malmö University) today, as part of their Comics Research Lab project.

First time I tried risoprinting and it went much better than expected. I had thought, based on most risoprinted books etc I’ve seen that the colors would be really pale, but it turned out really nicely. Especially since the print I had prepared was 2 colors on top of each other which created a nice effect and much deeper colors.

I made a variation on my tape cover for Noise Against Fascism / Legion of Swine.

Testprint:

First color:

Second color + combination:

Also made a few copies where I printed yellow as the second color:

This is the one Kinga made:

In case you haven’t seen my original image, this is what it looks like:

2019 pt 1/3: personal works

Here’s my usual attempt to figure out what I’ve been doing this past year. Let’s start with my personal works. Is it less than usual? Feels like it should be, considering I’ve been working (almost) full time this year with Fanzineverkstaden. Somehow I seem to have still managed to do some stuff.

My processes differ a bit between working digitally and on paper. Here’s how it goes:

On paper:
I have something that needs drawing. I take out my tools, I sit down at the drawing table and draw the thing. When it’s good, I like the flow of it, the feel of steel nib on non-glossy paper, the random splotches of ink that can enhance or ruin (ruin, as in I have to do some postproduction in the compouter, which I always do anyway. However, there’s usually big risk that I stumble on the starting line and never even take out my tools, even less sit down at the table.

Digital:
I reach for the pad and start drawing. I miss the feel of pen on paper and the ability to see the whole page since I often zoom in while drawing. But it’s soo much easier to just get started, and so I’m more productive this way.
It’s a dilemma.

That said, this year I’ve worked almost exclusively in digital form, with the exception of some linocut and silkscreen prints.

Some of these were made for the CBK: LORE exhibition, and were also used for my only proper book project this year, After the Ends of the World 2, which I did with Susanne Johansson, my partner in Wormgod:

 

Order it here.

I know I’ve posted this one before, so if you’ve seen it you can just scroll past it. Posting it here again because it was included in Asylkalendern 2019, this year published by Asylgruppen Malmö:

Buy it to support them and the immensely important work they do.

I thought the theme of genocide and how we deal with some of them in our history would work well for the occasion.

Linocut and silkscreen, made at Fanzineverkstaden:

I’ve also made a couple of zines this year.

Hungr I made half asleep at the pre-party for Seriefest 2019:

Encounter in the Woods I’ve written about earlier. It feels good to finally have something from that project in print, and in exhibition form:

Sleep Paralysis, a cooperation with Kinga Dukaj, a remaster of the comic we made for CBA vol 47 (more on that in a later post). She had a dream that I put into writing and embellished a bit, using one of her photo manipulations to turn it into a visually abstract comic. I’m really happy with it, especially how it looks which I didn’t even make myself. It’s always nice to work with great art (which brings me back to the upcoming post about CBA vol 47, but more on that later as i said).


I’ll end this post with one of the year’s last projects, which was a cassette tape cover I made for a split by Noise Against Fascism and Legion of Swine. It’ll be released January 9 in Copenhagen and in Malmö the day after. Only in 17 copies though, so it’ll be very exclusive…

 

WINTER SALE!

50% off on all my Wormgod books in a big sale which also includes books from Tusen Serier and CBK, lasting Nov 29 – Jan 1.

Go to the Hybriden webshop and have a look!

We’ve also started putting up prints on the site, so you can find some of my stuff in that section as well. We’ll be adding to the prints some at a time during the coming weeks…

We also spent some time recently putting up what remains of our old back-issues of C’est Bon (2001-2004) and C’est Bon Anthology (2004-2005) in the shop, in case you’re a completist or just curious. Those are also included in the sale.

And you can now see the complete list of artists published in any of the incarnations av CB/CBA in this list, complete with links to the books they’re included in at the shop. It’s 263 artists so far, including a whole bunch of extremely skilled ones. Looking at this list always makes me proud to have been involved in working with these books.

If you for some reason don’t care about anyone else and just want my stuff, here’s a direct link to that.

Jaje

So I came back from Novo Doba two weeks ago and am still trying to acclimatize to the Swedish social climate. I’m not sure if Serbia is actually that much better or if it’s just the situation of the festival and Matrijaršija, with its combination of recurring guests and a view of art that is simultaneously more relaxed and more serious than what I’m used to from Sweden.

I’m sure some of it is just a lingering hangover and some of it is stress over deadlines and workload in general, but I’ve had to struggle with the feeling that maybe I should just fuck off from everything I do that’s not exclusively about my own personal gain. Because I’ve felt for a while that that’s what most people do and maybe I should let others taste that same medicine? Conform to the egotist norm? I don’t really want to be that kind of asshole, but it would be nice to have some space/time in my life to do some stuff for myself. I mean comics projects that are bigger than just a few hours’ worth of work, maybe some painting, some printing, some simple drawings. Sure, I started playing Metal Gear Solid 4 and I’m enjoying it and everything BUT it also feels a lot like a desperate attempt at having some free time, rather than something I do simply for entertainment. And I never have that time because there are so many things I feel should get done, and no one else is doing them (except Kinga and me).

That said, through willpower, stubbornness and a very optimistic sense of how much you can do per hour, I’ve managed to get some stuff done lately…

For example, me and Kinga finally managed to use Fanzineverkstaden for some personal projects and made a serious attempt at silkscreen printing in preparation for Novo Doba and Gallerinatten (which was in the end of September).

This is an old illustration I did years ago for the Occupy Wall Street Journal (also published in an issue of Brand, I believe). Here printed in white on black A2 paper, and also on A3 in different colors:

Part of our (Wormgod/CBK/Tusen Serier/Kinga Dukaj/Feberdröm) table at Novo Doba…

I also have a comic in the new CBA, but more on that later…

LORE

Right now at Hybriden, CBK is showing the release exhibition for CBA vol 44: Lore.

I made a bunch of new works for it, inspired by some stories I heard as a child, and some I’ve heard later. Fairy tales and similar concepts that inspired me in one way or another.

You may recognise the symbol in the background from Berserk or Nameless or the upcoming Brightburn. I wish I could tell you its true origins, but… Also, if you haven’t seen The Witch, that’s maybe something you should think about doing?

Dhagdheer, a long-eared vampire(?) from a Somali folktale…

Yeah, I know, this last one doesn’t really fit into the whole fairytale theme, but what the hell. Dune was a great influence on me while growing up, and now when I’m rereading it I’m really enjoying it, so I think it fits anyway.

 

2019: the future approaches

I have no idea what to expect from this year.

Me, shimmering…

I heard that human society has maybe two decades left before we’ve fucked things up too much to go back. But so far, let’s get on with things, business as usual:

CBK has one new CBA at the printer now and at least two upcoming volumes, with accompanying exhibitions, already planned out. First up is CBA vol 43: Corners, the last issue of 2018 which will be released at some point soon. Then we have CBA vol 44: Lore, still with a few days left before the deadline for submissions. The call for submissions for CBA vol 45: Qtopia will be announced soon. Hopefully I’ll have time to make some short story for at least one of them, but we’ll have to see about that.

It’s still a bit unclear how the budget will look for Tusen Serier, but with any luck we’ll be able to publish a book or two this year.

And I’m desperate to do some Wormgod stuff. I have plans that I’m excited about but it’s too early to talk about them so far. But it would be foolish not to use it now that I have access to Fanzineverkstaden, which will be my main focus in 2019, as it was last year.

Aand I guess that’s about it, unless something unexpected comes along. I’ll try to keep you posted on anything interesting…