news from the world of
- Self-publication as self-determination for Māori writers by Sinead Overbye
“There is a shift in the artistic landscape taking place, and with it different ways of publishing and distributing literature,” writes Sinead Overbye for Stuff, a New Zealand-based news website. She covers the work and writings of a group of Maori authors. Says Overbye,
Self-publication is a re-emerging trend, particularly within Māori writing communities across the motu. It is no coincidence, and it is not new. Māori have always been innovative and self-determining, against all odds. Self-publication continues an historical trend of Māori resisting reliance upon the Crown and other entities to support what they believe will benefit them. It is a way of refusing to compromise, and of determining to speak in exactly the way we want to. It doesn’t ask, ‘Let us speak’, rather it says, ‘We have voices, and will speak regardless of who listens’.
In this way, Overbye’s words echo the sentiments we’ve expressed often here on SPA––that self-publishing is a democratizing influence on literature, and an influence that allows for authors without massive blockbuster intentions (as far as their envisioned audiences go) to still reach the readers they need to reach. Overbye goes on to write that in a “system where money determines the perceived value of everything, it is a radical (and to some, a confusing) act to produce work that doesn’t increase individual wealth, but whose chief purpose is to communicate.” That’s a line we’ll be chewing on for some time.
This one is such a heartbreaking story, in a good way! Abby Luschei, writing for Seattle Refined, covers the story of artist Jayashree Krishnan, who has been painting the faces of COVID-19 first responders and healthcare workers. In an interview with Luschei, Krishnan noted that the artworks’ positive reception online “was saying that the art is not just about the artwork, but it opened up the space for people who were not healthcare workers to step in and say something encouraging for them.” Writes Luschei,
In just about 10 months, Krishnan has painted more than 150 portraits of healthcare workers. Through this process, she’s heard their stories about what it has been like to fight COVID-19 first-hand. Krishnan is self-publishing a book, “Caring for Humanity,” that will feature those paintings and stories.
I don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to see the final product. Says Krishnan, “This series is about so much more than just a piece of art, Krishnan said. It’s about sharing their experiences — what it was like to work in COVID units in the very beginning, how it changed and how some of them ended up contracting COVID themselves, for example.” If we only get one good thing out of this virus situation, we’re glad it’s a fabulous work of artistic self-publishing.