In May 2020, Babylon ARTS launched their Comic Book Windows project, commissioning local Manga Artist, Irina Richards to create a total of 60 new illustrations, one for each of the Babylon Gallery riverside window panes. This exhibition comprised three separate comic ‘strips’, two based on Irina’s own stories and one using poems submitted by the public. Babylon ARTS received 34 poems, from which to select one poem to be re-imagined as Comic Book illustrations.
Claire Somerville, chief executive of Babylon ARTS said “We want to say a big thank you to everyone that took part in the project and sent in their poetry submissions. We received some fantastic poems, which made the decision to pick just one, too difficult - so we chose two!”
The two poems chosen were by Ely residents, Sophie Bell and Hebe Young. Their poems have been illustrated into comic book form and can be seen on the Babylon ARTS website now. Sophie said “I was thrilled to be part of this project. Irina’s comic strip really captures the fears and joys so many of us have experienced during this challenging time.”
Left: Sophie Bell; Right, Hebe Young
The second chosen poem was by Hebe Young, age 13 who said “I met Irina when I went to a The Library Presents event. When I saw this competition, I had to enter! I am really pleased I won! I love the result so much.”
Artist Irina Richards
Artist, Irina Richards said "I feel fortunate to have been part of the Comic Book Windows project. It felt good to be able to work with Babylon Arts and the public - the response was fantastic. I especially enjoyed the poetry component of the project - the poems were full of sincerity and raw emotion, turning them into poetry comics was an amazing experience. The project showed that despite the challenges and restrictions that the lockdown has brought about, the need for the arts and creativity is greater than ever."
The winning poems will be on display in the windows of the Babylon Gallery from 8th to 30th July and will feature in a planned exhibition at the Babylon Gallery later this year.