Friday, September 9, 2016

Interview: OOMK zine

OOMK zine is a collective championing Muslim women and non-white/women in the zine scene. They are based in London and recently did a month-long tour in Malaysia doing research about the zine and print making scene here. They are also the co-organizers of DIY Cultures, a huge annual event in London. I did an interview with them for Mosh zine issue 18. Let's read an excerpt from the interview.

Hi, so you are still in Malaysia? Where are you now and tell us your activities…
We have just settled back home in London after 1 month in Malaysia. We have gone back to our day jobs (teaching/graphic design/ research) and we are busy scheduling an exciting programme of OOMK events, publications and residencies for the year and meeting with potential collaborators.

Tell us more about OOMK zine for those who haven’t heard about it…How did it started?
OOMK zine is an independent art publication focussing on women, art and activism. The idea for OOMK began when Sofia and Rose met at a zine fair in London became friends and began discussing the absence of Muslim women, or any non-white and/or women of faith, in the London zine scene and the creative industries more widely and the need to create a platform to share the work that was being created but not being seen.

Officially OOMK began in 2013 with the launch of the first issue, which featured interviews, profiles and features of the work of women artists, writers and illustrators with a focus on platforming the work of Muslim/non-white women. Each issue is has an underlying theme and so far we have covered Fabric, Print, Drawing, Internet and Collecting. Over the last few years we’ve included the work of political activists, artist collectives, archivists, painters dressmakers, book-sellers, herbalists and more. We are about to begin work on our 6th Issue: Food.

Overall our commitment is to the politics of independent publishing and creating a space where women are allowed to voice their work, experiences, and their interests on their own terms, uninfluenced by the need to respond to dominant media narratives. OOMK is now much more than a zine, and is a wider artist collective made up of 20 or so women from various backgrounds and industries, and together we run print-related fairs, workshops, and public discussions.

I heard you got funded to tour Malaysia and do research about print/zine making here. From where did the grant come from?
The grant we applied for is called the Artist’s International Development Fund, which is run by a UK funding body called the Arts Council in partnership with the British Council. The fund is intended to help semi-established individual artists go abroad to develop skills, expand horizons and introduce an international perspective to their work. We had to wait 6 weeks to find out whether we had been successful and whether our project could be supported financially and we were really excited when we finally received the letter confirming we’d been chosen to be funded. Either way, we were determined to visit Malaysia with or without the extra cash!

 SYB: read the rest of the interview in Mosh zine #18, which is in the making...