Visualizing Activism

Movements and Moments

A review of Movements and Moments by Edited by Sonja Eismann, Ingo Schöningh, and Maya

Published on March 16, 2023

Movements and Moments is more than a graphic novel. The cover of this comics collection  gives us a peek at the core subject: women. All kinds of women, a diversity offering itself to the eyes of the curious reader. But once you open it, a new feminist perspective is explored. Drawn by a collective of illustrators, forgotten feminist stories are told. And while we hear all the time about feminist tales from our Western reality, Movements and Moments puts the stories of Indigenous women in the limelight.

By spotlighting Indigenous women’s stories of fighting for their rights, the collection takes on an ambitious challenge and succeeds in doing so. Each story in the collection showcases one part of the world, whether in words or by illustration, where colours and style also depict the countries where the stories take place. The project, led by editors Sonja Eismann, Ingo Schöningh, and Maya, makes sure to give a unique voice to every woman represented in the book. 

Movements and Moments

Movements and Moments
Edited by Sonja Eismann, Ingo Schöningh, and Maya

Drawn & Quarterly
$29.95
cloth
264pp
9781770465619

Every story has been thought about meticulously. In “The Anarchist Cholas,” a recounting of the Bolivian Female Libertarian Trade Union, illustrators Vanessa Peñuela and César Vargas colour the tale by borrowing the bright shades of the traditional Indigenous clothes from the South American country. This provides a beautiful, emotional homage to the women who actively fought for the recognition of their work and rights in Bolivia. In “Tracing Between the Colours of the Highland,” illustrators and authors Duong Manh Hung and Pham Tu Tra use big brush strokes to show the resilience and power of Vietnam’s Ede people, one of the rare stories that involve American colonialism. Through the different illustration styles, respect and admiration are sensed through every pen line and drawing.

Even if the child-friendly cover might lead someone to think this will be a children’s read, nothing could be further from the truth. Movements and Moments is a collection of stories that delve into colonial realities that are often ignored in our current world. It shows the constant struggle those women have to endure to save their lands from others. In this book, traditions, sacred rivers, and homes are at stake, and women will do anything to keep the enemy at bay. And it starts strong with “Let the River Flow Free,” a story from the Philippines that hits right in the heart, showing how even one’s own people can violate their rights to their own land.

The editors reconcile storytelling and activism beautifully. They’ve put feminist issues at the heart of the book and made women activists the heroes. The intent is even more noticeable in “Shanti: Beyond The Veil,” in which Shanti Chaudhary, a feminist activist from Nepal, takes control of her own life and decides to help other women do so. Movements and Moments pushes the graphic novel genre further into activism, without alienating those who aren’t everyday protesters. It proves that everyone can fight for what they believe.

Movements and Moments recognizes that feminism doesn’t look the same for everyone and that there isn’t only one type of feminism. It goes beyond what is often taught about feminism, showcasing women’s courage, power, resilience, and strength in the most engaging way. It is brilliant because it allows unknown stories to shine in the way they deserve to.

Movements and Moments is a radiant exercise in making people come together, and through the stories, it makes everyone realize that some fights are worth fighting.mRb

Yara El-Soueidi is a millennial writer and culture columnist based in Montréal.

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