March 8 interview with Amalia Alvarez

Every year before March 8, Kultwatch interviews people from the cultural world who inspire us with their relationship to feminism. This year, the turn has come to the comic creator Amalia Alvarez, whose socially realistic graphic novels and individual comics often depict precarious women’s lives. She is currently working on her third book.

I organize myself in a collective of women, where a majority are from Abyayala and ”Indigenous”. We collect and take care of the stories we get from our daily lives and I then have the task of presenting them in comic format. We call this Representativity, where we ourselves tell the core of the stories, and where we recognize ourselves in the stories and the collective can recognize the stories as ours. For us, Representativity is important in the political anti-racist comics, because if we allow others, who have not suffered racism, to tell our stories, then what David Theo Goldberg and Philomena Essed call ”cultural cloning” will be reproduced and our voices will continue to be invisible. The stories I draw are not mine, they are the result of a collective. I draw stories about people made invisible by the white supremacy.

What feminist role models would you like to highlight?

– Mother Earth is my biggest inspiration, and then millions of people that I meet and get to know through their daily struggles. One example is my Muslim neighbors who fight against racism that want to make them victims and criminalize their partners and sons. Another example is my undocumented transsexual comrades who are constantly being persecuted and who still believe that a world without hatred is possible. I am inspired by ”Las mamai” from my country Lickana, from my people Lickanantay, who resist the pollution of the air, the holy rivers, against the racism of the nation state that dehumanizes us. I am also inspired by ”Las mamai” in the jungle and mountains that have fought for hundreds of years, and give their lives to protect the environment. A struggle that Europe is constantly trying to hide, because they know that the real heroes exist outside of Europe. My inspiration is the black women of Abyayala, those who enter into alliances with us ”AmerIndians” or the indigenous people to defend the lives of their families. I am inspired by the ”Native American” mothers who suffer the worst thing for a woman, the theft of their children. This is in the light of the fight they are doing in Wallmapu, in the south of what is called Chile. I grew up with women in precarious situations, and it is they and their struggles that inspire me.

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