We are thrilled to announce that the Colombian-Ecuadorian comic artist and illustrator Powerpaola will take over the Samuel Fischer Guest Professorship for Literature this winter semester!
Powerpaola (real name: Paola Andrea Gaviria Silguero) was born in Quito (Ecuador) in 1977 and moved to Colombia with her family when she was 13 years old. She studied at the Fundación Universitaria de Bellas Artes in Medellín, where she founded the art collective Taller 7. After extended stays in Paris, Sydney, San Salvador and elsewhere, she currently lives in Buenos Aires. At the age of 27, she began drawing comics, which first appeared on Flickr; then, in 2011, Argentine publisher Editorial Comun published her autobiographical comic Virus Tropical, in which Powerpaola explores her difficult childhood as a rebellious daughter in the conservative environment of a Colombian family. The comic was enthusiastically reviewed, translated into French, Italian, and Brazilian, and made into a film in 2017 (the film was screened at the 2018 Berlinale, among other festivals). The German translation by Lea Hübner was published by Parallelallee in 2022. Since then, Powerpaola has published the graphic novels QP (2014), Todo va a estar bien (2015), Nos vamos (2016), and Todas las bicicletas que tuve (2022), in which she explores themes of sexuality, feminism, family, and identity.
Powerpaola has co-founded artist collectives such as the Medellín group Taller 7 and the internationally operating Chicks on Comics, and has been involved on collaborative works – magazines such as Mates, Strapazin, Chicks on Comics publications such as Synergy Boat – or the volume Tierra larga (2019), in duo with Pablo Besse as no tan parecidos. She is also represented in anthologies such as El Volcán (2019) and Drawing power: women’s stories of sexual violence, harassment, and survival (2020). Most recently, she contributed to the calendar Chicas de Calendario 2022, and illustrated the volume Mostras del Rock by Barbi Recanati (Argentina) about the under-reported history of female rock legends (2021).
Seminar „I’m not talking about me (but also)“
As part of the Samuel Fischer Guest Professorship, Powerpaola will teach a seminar titled I’m not talking about me (but also). This course takes French artist Robert Filliou’s canonical quote “L’art est ce qui rend la vie plus intéressante que l’art” (tr.: Art is what renders life more interesting than art) as a departure point for an investigation of the intimate and complex bond between the acts of creating and living. The instructor, Colombian-Ecuadorian artist and graphic memoirist Powerpaola, is interested in how art can sharpen and extend one’s sense of selfhood through an exploration of the relation between self and other, between the self and the world. The seminar sessions will concretely treat the fields of autofiction and self-portraiture, placing a robust focus on intermedial text-image constellations and introducing students to the work of artists as diverse as Clarice Lispector, Hebe Uhart, Sophie Calle, On Kawara, Susan Sontag, Frida Kahlo and Lucia Berlín.
The seminar will take place on Thursdays from 4-6 p.m. beginning October 19, 2023, at the Peter Szondi-Institut für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft.