There’s a new exhibition coming up at the Workers Gallery, in Ynyshir, Wales, featuring the work of comic creator Myfanwy Tristram, inspired by her Protest Comics.
Word on the Street, inspired by the work of Myfanwy Tristram, centres on an exhibition of drawings, but there will be tie-in activities, too, including a workshop and zine making day.
Myfanwy’s drawings depict real protestors, from all over the world, holding placards with witty, indignant and poignant slogans demanding change.
“As source material, I used photographs from recent protests and from historic ones, finding far more examples I wanted to include than there were days in the month,” she explains. “The slogans were witty, thoughtful, persuasive — and when seen together, are demonstrative of how protest, far from being solely about anger and violence, can actually bring out the best in dissenting citizens.”
Accompanying the exhibition will be an artist activist talk, a zine making workshop day and a call for people of Wales (but especially the valleys) to share what issues would make them “take to the streets” today – and what provoked them to act in the past. Whether that be the impact of climate change manifesting in the recent multiple landslips in the area, disused buildings endangering communities, issues causing flooding, the cost-of-living crisis or other social injustices.
Myfanwy will listen to protesters – past, present, and future – and engage with their stories and testimonies, collaborating with local people to create a new comic.
“When the Workers Gallery approached me, I discovered that I couldn’t have wished for a better venue in a more suitable place,” she acknowledges. “Rhondda’s living history of protest, struggle and campaigning means that I’ll have the chance to talk to locals and hear their first-person accounts of boycotts, strikes, marches and campaigns, which, with their permission, I hope to weave into a brand new graphic novella (or comic! But it’s important to realise what a broad term ‘comic’ is these days, just in case anyone is thinking of the Beano or Dandy).”
Visitors will be invited to respond to the show through a free activity and interactive worksheet, and these will be displayed as part of the show at the gallery.
The show will also tour to local community venues via cargo e-bike and groups are invited to be part of the show’s tour. Contact the gallery via www.workersgallery.co.uk/contact for more information.
Workshops and Zine Making
The inspiration for the Word on the Street tie-in series of participatory events is Myfanwy Tristram’s recently published protest comic called Sorry for the Inconvenience, We are Trying to Save the World. The comic includes the portraits of protestors, but also a series of wonderfully illustrated ‘how to’ guides and references to protest as an important part of our democracy.
“In 2021, infuriated by the UK’s government’s crackdown on the right to protest in the Police, Crimes Sentencing and Courts Bill, I spent the month of October drawing a different protest placard every day,” says Myfanwy.
“This was the first seed of an 80-page book, Sorry For The Inconvenience, We Are Trying To Save The World which is the focus of my show at the Workers Gallery’. I am interested in how comics can encourage activism and make real political change.”
“When we saw Myfanwy’s drawings of protestors online, they made us feel connected to others around the world who were also fighting against injustice and challenging decisions that adversely affected the lives of ordinary people,” added Gayle Rogers, Resident Artist, Workers Gallery. “We want others to feel that connection by visiting the Word on The Street exhibition.
“We hope by creating opportunities for people to come together, to discuss and respond to activist art, they’ll to be inspired to develop their own ‘radical voices’ and take action to bring about positive change in their communities.’
“The exhibition includes portrayals of protestors with placards of resistance that some may find challenging or witty. It’s important to us as a gallery to celebrate work that responds to important social issues. What could be more important than our democratic right to peaceful protest?”
Born in Devon in 1968 and now living in Brighton on the south coast of England, Myfanwy Tristram has drawn comics all her life. “I fit my practice around a fulltime job at a digital democracy NGO; each side of my life inspiring and informing the other,” she says.
“I am interested in the power of comics to educate, enrage and create change in the world. As well as the small inequities of everyday life, I tackle global systemic issues, always with some humour and the aim of also putting visually appealing artwork into the world.”
• Word on the Street Exhibition 11.00 am – 4.30pm Thursday – Saturday, or at other times by appointment, 4th August – 11th September 2022 | Workers Gallery, 99 Ynyshir Road, Ynyshir, RCT, Wales CF39 0EN Web: www.workersgallery.co.uk
• Talk: 7.00pm, Thursday 4th August Activist and Artist Talk featuring Myfanwy Tristram and Cat Lewis
• Zine Making Workshops 11.00am – 1.00pm or 2.00 – 4.00pm, Saturday 6th August 2022 – Led by Myfanwy Tristram, supported by Gayle Rogers
Word on the Street is supported by RCT Arts Service