The Birth of Linda
Artzine, Tess Eneli Reid, tessenelireid.com
The most intriguing quality of zines, that key aspect of the medium that zinesters like myself love, is the immense breadth in terms of how simple or elaborate a successful zine can look. Tess Eneli Reid’s The Birth of Linda excels at complexity, resulting in a stunning work of art that can fit in the palm of your hand.
On first glance, this zine looks like quite unassuming: two thick pieces of card sandwich some folded pages and are covered in lovely gold lettering and design. On the back cover, Reid introduces the work as “a small part of the 19,000 verse poem” telling the tale of Linda, mother of Kalevipoeg, “the titular hero of Estonia’s national epic.” The cover is beautiful and humble, but the most magical moment comes when you open it up and unfold an epic tale that is depicted in a visually striking, colourful, lyrical set of illustrations that speak louder than words.
The illustration style is pleasing and impressive. The quality level is what you would expect of a full-length graphic novel, yet the zine functions as a short and sweet taste of Reid’s incredible talent for illustration and design. This work is meant to be proudly displayed as a modernized, historical work of art on your shelf, and to whet your appetite for Reid’s aesthetic style and leave you wanting more. (Nicole Partyka)