Recently, I went to check out the happenings of the Comica Festival in London, courtesy of Ctrl.Alt.Shift. If you don’t know anything about this festival, then here’s a good place to start. It combines the yearlong comic/anime/manga collective where artists (famous or not) get to show off their new work for the world to see. The festival runs from the 5th of November until the 26th, so make sure you can get down to the select locations in London to check it out.
Ctrl.Alt.Shift ran a competition to uncover the public’s reactions to what unmasking corruption meant to them, and the results and winners of the competition can be found at the Lazarides Gallery in Soho until the 30th of November (entry is free). There was some pretty awe-inspiring artwork there, to say the least. Being able to walk among the artists and their work as they depicted whatever it was that corruption meant to them was quite the revelation. From dirty needles, to government conspiracies, to grannies not quite living in the real world, all original pieces of artwork were made using a variant of methods – one was even made into wallpaper and attached to the wall.
As well as the political comic strips on show, the exhibition presented a vast array of comics we all know and love. Superman visiting famine-ridden Ethiopia in 1986, Ronald Regan’s face superimposed on Captain America’s as part of the ‘Regan’s Raiders’ patriotic super heroes series and ‘I Am Curious, Black!’ which is Lois Lane’s exploration of race as she takes on the body of a black woman for 24 hours are examples of just a few historical gems to be discovered.
Meeting the artists was surely a highlight as they were all wide-eyed and brimming with happiness at their work being displayed. Some had had their work displayed before and others were highlighting for the first time – but all were immensely proud (and slightly nervous) to have so many punters gawking at their masterpieces en masse.
The Ctrl.Alt.Shift ‘Unmasks Corruption’ anthology is now available to purchase for a mere £4.99. I bought a copy, which contains all the collective works from the exhibition, and it really is something. For what you get in it, it’s really not a lot to ask and definitely worth buying a copy.
It was certainly a memorable night to be able to see so many fine pieces of work under one roof. I wholly recommend checking this out if it’s your kind of geeky thing. I’ll be getting myself down to some more of the festival this coming week, maybe check out some anime, maybe see you there?