Illustrating Me exhibition highlights asylum seekers’ personal stories and experiences. In their comics asylum seekers describe the situation in their home countries, their journey to Europe, everyday life in Finland and share us their future dreams. For many of the participants the comics are a first attempt to visually express the turning points of their lives.
Comics were created in comic workshops held during 2016-2017 in reception centers in Helsinki, Kontiolahti and Lieksa. Most of the participants were adults but also some children attended workshops. One of the workshops was held in a meeting of Service Civil International (KVT ry) because many of asylum seekers participate voluntary work camps in Finland.
Youngest artist was a 5-year old boy from Guinea and oldest a 54-year old man from Iraq. In the workshops 20 percent of the participants were women. The workshop participants came from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Uganda, Republic of Kongo, Burundi, Iran, Gambia, Albania, Cameroon, Russia and Guinea.
Many of the workshop participants didn’t have any background in drawing. However, the new challenge was embraced with enthusiasm. The comics were created with a low treshold method ‘grassroot comics’ which is developed by World Comics (Maailman sarjakuvat ry). The method emphasises the idea that everyone can draw.
During the year 2017 Illustrating Me touring exhibition tours around Finland in two copies. The exhibition tour begins in the comics festival Å-fest: comics are presented in Porvoo library from 30th of January to 25th of February 2017. The following exhibition place is the Cultural Centre Stoa in Helsinki from 6th of March to 2nd of April 2017.
For the media we can organize a possibility for interviews with the comics drawers.
There is an Information material bank for the media as well.
World Comics Finland’s public Facebook group