image taken from the Sovereign Nation Facebook launch page This article has been republished with permission by the original author and The Coast alternative weekly in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We strongly encourage Haligonians and visitors to check out the exhibit this month or stop by the Anchor Archive Zine Library in their space at B Side Gallery/Plan B on Gottingen Street!
by Stephanie Johns
The Anchor Archive Zine Library is a pillar of the Halifax DIY and politically active community. An wellspring of inspiring, healing and challenging material, it’s a resource that Haligonians are lucky to have free access to.
Laura Grier, summer communications and events coordinator for the Anchor Archive, is an Indigenous artist and activist from Alberta. Laura Baker-Roberts is an artist, arts organizer and environmental activist living in Halifax. Both Grier and Baker-Roberts are student leaders on the Student Union of NSCAD University.
Together, the artists have reframed the library’s collection with fresh eyes to put together this month’s exhibit, Sovereign Nation: Paths of Resistance and Decolonization, running to Sunday, July 27 at the Anchor Archive Zine Library and B Side Gallery (2180 Gottingen Street). Curating zines on the theme of sovereignty and decolonization, Grier and Baker-Roberts have put together an exhibit that hopes to enlighten and inspire.
“Laura and I spent hours and hours going through every box in every category,” says Baker-Roberts. “We found a written piece in a NSCAD Feminist Collective zine from 2011 by Kaley Kennedy that summed up many of our feeling on Indigenous representation in media.”
“Having just started my position at the library I am very new to the whole zine community and have just really begun digging into the library,” says Grier. “There are amazing collectives and groups who are behind a lot of the zines such as The Warrior Productions, an Indigenous zine, to Elizabeth Marie Egan who created a beautiful illustrative zine on the history of the Minnehaha and the Four Oaks Spiritual Encampment.”
Grier and Baker-Roberts say zines are an incredible resource for sharing ideas and information from a wide variety of perspectives and authors—from comics about personal experiences, critical essays or wild foraging, issues like Indigenous rights, perspectives on prisons and queer and trans activism in our local community, and they hope they can both start a dialog and encourage others to make their own zines.
“I wanted to have something that had more Indigenous representation since I found that we live in a highly colonial city and rarely have representation and space. I wanted to try and see if there were zines that could not only explain more on the effects of colonization but the types of ways we can decolonize our world to everyday actions,” says Grier. “We are living in a very white settler world and it is about time to take up some space and to create knowledge and understanding we can start with educating ourselves. These zines are great stepping stones to open up our perspectives and start acting on challenging our world and create change.”