I LOVE BOOKS!
As a little brown girl one of the greatest and most pleasurable past times I had was reading. My parents were brilliant and always made me believe that a trip to the library was a treat and that bad behavior could result in the suspension of library privileges. The shock, the horror! I could not let that happen. I corrected my behavior and begged for forgiveness and leniency. Books were my refuge, my teachers, my friends after it got dark and play time was over.
About ten years ago the Chican@ Literature teacher I had at El Camino community college encouraged her students to keep the books we loved and could afford not to sell back. She talked of the importance of keeping our own libraries. It appealed to me and I started my collection. Every time I visited a university to check out which campus I might like to transfer to I bought more books. Little by little my collection grew.
Once I moved to the Bay I found all the used books stores in Berkeley and my collection exploded. Now I have a bonafide collection of my own.
OUR BOOK COVERS
This year we accomplished some really satisfying things as part of our work here at Dignidad Rebelde. Jesus and I each provided the art for the cover of books. Jesus’ print design “La Flores” was used for the cover of Rebel Girls: Youth Activism and Social Change Across the Americas.
Rebel Girls explores how teenage girls construct activist identities, rejecting and redefining girlhood and claiming political authority for youth in the process. Taft examines the girl activists’ social movement strategies and collective political practices, detailing their shared commitments to process-based political education, participatory democracy, and hopeful enthusiasm.
Jesus and I were invited to participate in a panel about the intersection of art and politics at this year’s Socialism 2010 conference. During our time there we had great conversations with a bunch of folks including folks at Haymarket Books. They asked me if I would be interested in designing covers for some of their books. So here is my first book cover. It’s a portrait of Rosa Luxemburg for the book Ideas in Action.
Written by a contemporary of (and sometime collaborator with) Rosa Luxemburg with an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the German Social Democratic Party, this biography strikes the right balance between personal insight and political analysis. Tracing Rosa Luxemburg’s development from a humble Polish girl with a keen interest in herding geese to the most important leader of the German Communist Party, the image that emerges from Frölich’s narrative is that of arguably the most remarkable woman ever produced by the international socialist movement.
A BOOK BY MANY ARTISTS
Firebrands Firebrands: Portraits from the Americas is a book that was collaboratively written and illustrated by Justseeds Cooperative Artists. Our new book published by Microcosm Publishing, is “full of art, American history, and dangerous information. These beautifully illustrated mini-poster pages showcase radicals, dissidents, folk singers, and rabble-rousers, from Emma Goldman to Tupac Shakur, Pablo Neruda to Fred Hampton. As say editors Shaun Slifer and Bec Young in the introduction, the book is for “anyone who has sat trembling with frustration and disappointment in a history class that was neither stimulating nor inclusive. It’s for those tired of hauling to classes heavy textbooks that have been carefully removed of anything interesting or useful. It’s for all our ancestors, especially those misrepresented in those textbooks, left out because they were too brown, too female, too poor, too queer, too uneducated, too disabled, or because they daydreamed too much.” This is a real people’s history, a book packed with dynamite, desire, and above all, courage.”
Above you can see some of the pages from Firebrands. Jesus illustrated Commandante Ramona and Emiliano Zapata and I took on Tupac Shakur and Assata Shakur as well as others.
OUR ART IN OTHER BOOKS
Since 1998, Celebrate People’s History posters have documented feminist organizers, indigenous uprisings, civil rights leaders, union struggles, LGBT activism and much more. Now there is a book available. You can order yours here.
Above are images of the Celebrate People’s History posters that Jesus and I designed that are included in the book. I designed a poster about the struggle in Atenco, Mexico and Jesus highlighted the youth movement in the Bay that shut down ICE office on Halloween 2008.
You can read more about Signal and the interview of our studio the Taller Tupac Amaru here. One of my illustrations from a solidarity poster for Palestine was used for the cover.
All of these book make great gifts. These are great resources for learning more about social movements and radical graphic artists.