21 August 2011

News: Malmö (Comics) Festival 2011

Sara Granér's bicycling bears are visible close to the Central Station of Malmö.  
Right now Malmöfestivalen, the yearly festival in the heart of Malmö, is under way. Every year, for at least the last decade, there has been ample proof of the axiom that Malmö is "the Comic City of Sweden" present during the festival. For many years, this was manifested in "the comics day" at one of the cultural stages, where various performances etc. took place, organized by yours truly.

Lars Krantz' allegory about drinking alcohol, with a zombie version on the other side.
This year, though, comics is more present than ever. Mostly due to the project led by Josefin Svenske, with no less than ten gigantic cut-out images of characters created by cartoonists living and working in Malmö, situated all through the festival area.

Nanna Johansson's image of a participant of the festival.
These images really stand out, and walking through the festival it is easy to see that they are a favourite among people taking photos and posing beside their favourite character.

Karolina Bång's cowgirl.
These cut-out characters are not the only manifestation of the presence of comics in Malmö, though. There are several activities in the festival program that connect to what is being created in Malmö as well. For instance, on Friday, Karolina Bång will host a cowgirl evening at Hedmanska Gården, with line dance, country and bluegrass and of course the official release of her new book Cowgirls, complete with a small exhibition of originals from the book.

Coco Moodysson's self-portrait as a young girl.
Then there's the open rehearsal of the play Prins Charles känsla (Prince Charles' Feeling), based on the graphic novel with the same title by Liv Strömquist. This can be seen on Wednesday and Thursday at 15.30 at Hipp. On Wednesday at 17.00, there will also be a discussion about the play between Strömquist and the director Sara Giese. 

One of the characters from Åsa Ekström's Sayonara September.

Katten Nils (Nils The Cat) by Johanna Kristiansson and Joakim Gunnarsson.
Then there are comics workshops for kids between the ages of 7 and 12, held by Johanna Kristiansson and Jimmy Wallin. One was already on the very first day, but there are still two left, on Thursday and Friday at 15.00. 
The official comics "hang-out" place at the festival.
As if this was not enough, there is also an official hang-out area for comics, organised again by Josefin Svenske, this time in the capacity of teacher at the Comic Art School of Malmö. Here you can meet students from the school and see them create comics and art on the spot.
One of many signs, proclaiming where you should go, designed by Nanna Johansson.
Finally, all over the festival you can see some really beautiful signs, designed by Nanna Johansson, who has also designed the huge maps of the festival area spread out all through the city. This all makes me feel as if I was back at the comics festival in Angoulême, France, where all the street signs are in the shape of speech balloons. All in all, comics are, rightly so, a large and visually distinct part of Malmöfestivalen.
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