Movements and Moments from Drawn and Quarterly is an anthology produced with the Goethe-Institut Indonesien in Jakarta. As the introduction explains, the call for their 2018 feminism and pop culture conference focusing on the indigenous brought in hundreds of applications from across the South Pacific and South and Southeast Asia. Missy Magazine chose sixteen of the participants, leading to this print collection of eight tales of struggle across the Global South. The other stories are online, giving a digital voice in our modern world that is still recovering from, or, in many cases, still experiencing, the oppression of colonialism.
The stories in Movement and Moments are varied by time and place and even theme, but they all carry the same spirit of resisting cruelty. “Let the River Flow Free” tells of the women defenders of the Chico River in Kalinga, Philippines. Rather than being an old tale, it is one very new, relating events in 2020. The struggle against damming projects began in the 1970s and continue today with geothermal energy schemes and residual damage from mining. “Mama Dulu” shows the resistance of indigenous Kichwa in Ecuador where native lands were divided into plantations with natives working small patches from which tithes were paid. Rather than helping the oppressed, the church used their authority for greed and power, even instituting prima nocte. The strikes from the nineteenth century are juxtaposed with the Quito women’s march of October 2019, showing the effects of schooling and its continued need. Education proves invaluable, too, in the story “Shanti: Beyond the Veil” as a woman escapes a system of patriarchy in Nepal and in “The Anarchist Cholas” when trade unions organize to protect women in Bolivia.
While many of the stories in Movement and Moments are about outward events, some detail the effect of native culture within people. “Tracing Between Colors of the Highlands” highlights the perspectives of folk performers in Vietnam, showing how art wrongfully dismissed as primitive robs people of their rich traditions. The inward rediscovery of the value of one’s native heritage combines with activism in “Millaray Huichalaf,” the story of a woman embracing her background as a spiritual leader to protect her people’s burial grounds from foreign development.
Each of the stories in Movement and Moments is driven by the style of the artists. The action-packed pages of “Let the River Flow Free” hold numerous panels, each bleeding over into one another to highlight the energy and chaos while bold colors show the individual among the mob of history.
“Warmimasiy” shows the history of feminism among the Inca in gentle watercolors with ample white space to lead the reader on a soothing understanding akin to the vocal response on the radio program when a listener challenges that feminism leads women to abandon their spouses with calm explanation of people not needing to suffer under violence for an institution’s sake. The wide range of styles highlight that, no matter the differences in the stories and in one another, we are all a people living our stories.