Remember last January, when we announced that artist-illustrator Talysha Bujold-Abu would be the first recipient of our annual Mini-Comic Bursary for Black and Indigenous Creators? We’re excited to share that Bujold-Abu’s amazing work is now available to purchase! Simply connect with her on Instagram or Facebook to order.
In August and September, Bujold-Abu’s A Little Guide to Big Hair, was featured as part of Artcite’s “Emancipate the Landscape” exhibit. Bujold-Abu describes the project as “a collection of five zines exploring and celebrating afros by exploring and celebrating [her] afro.”
“In Emancipate the Landscape, Kiki Symonè, Mbonisi Zikhali and Talysha Bujold-Abu come together to create a collaborative story that celebrates the brilliant resilience and inherent elegance of everyday Blackness. The presented collection of words and images mingle in a collective tapestry that objects to circumvent the colonial crafted illusion of white supremacy by deconstructing the sabotaged narrative perpetuated by the dominant culture which illustrates Black people in a negative context while also commodifying and commercializing a history of Afro trauma inflicted by an institutional system of whiteness. This celebration of story reclaims the Afro aesthetic from the fetishized thirst of mainstream culture and returns it to the land from which it organically manifested. Emancipate the Landscape is pulling back the layers of manufactured Blackness, to expose truths that have been hidden in plain sight.”– Artcite Inc, Executive Director Teajai Travis
To celebrate the culmination of this important project, we’re sharing a brief Q&A with Bujold-Abu:
Congratulations again on the zine series exhibit! How did folks react to A Little Guide to Big Hair? What do you hope people took away from it?
With “Emancipate the Landscape,” I featured A Little Guide to Big Hair in conversation with
contributing artists Kiki Symonè and Mbonisi Zikhali. A Little Guide to Big Hair was featured as a set of zines, a series of poster-sized images, and I completed a responsive mural in the Gallery called ‘Hair Stuff’; featuring different combs that are specifically used in the care of Black hair. In sharing this work, I had hoped to feature the intimate relationship I share with my afro, alongside the activism that is always present in natural Black hair.
I extend a big thank-you to everyone at Artcite Inc, the contributing artists, and patrons of the exhibition; this was a beautiful space to share this work, and was received with so much thoughtfulness, care, and laughter.
This was your first foray into comics–did you learn anything that surprised you?
In the process of creating A Little Guide to Big Hair, I was surprised by how difficult it was to find simplicity; much of these final zines had been pages and pages of words and other goofy illustrations! Equally, it was challenging to pursue comic work so openly, as this is work I have always done privately…but (in the final outcome) I am excited to continue this work.
How did you decide what you wanted to work on? Did you have this project on the
back-burner already, or did you have to choose from a few ideas?
This project has been sitting around for awhile, with many strange drafts and iterations – it was great (and creatively challenging) to pursue this idea in a ‘tiny’ way; focusing on intimacy and simplicity. In terms of ongoing work/thoughts, I had decided to pursue themes of identity (Black hair, as an example) in direct response to the original call for this bursary: where I became more didactic in this expression, I look forward to pursuing the abstracted versions of these themes and new stuff altogether.
What’s up next for you? Do you see yourself continuing to create comics?
I have always loved and created comics, though I had never found a space to share them in such a dedicated fashion; I have a lot more work to do, and there is a ton of excitement in that!
Why should other folks apply for this bursary?
Conundrum Press is offering a great access point into both comics (as a medium), and comics as a community – if you’re looking for a space to take any type of ‘next step’ this is a fantastic resource to connect!
Thank you, Talysha, for sharing your journey with us!
—Everyone at Conundrum Press