The Yiara team is back with their third issue! For those of you who have not been following Yiara’s journey over the last three years: it’s a student-run magazine featuring visual art and written works by undergraduate students in Montreal, focusing on the involvement of women and feminism – in all its diverse forms – in art. In honour of their forthcoming launch party, the Yiara team answered a few questions about the magazine for me.
Cassandra Marsillo (CM): How would you describe Yiara?
Rudrapriya Rathore (RR): Yiara is “a Montreal undergraduate feminist art/art history magazine”, but it’s also a lot more than that. It’s a bilingual community of students from all over the island who are very interested in and preoccupied with contemporary problems and activisms and artistic practices related to feminism.
Mattia Zylak (MZ): I think Yiara is an ongoing discussion on women and their cultural production.
CM: What was the highlight of Yiara’s 2014-15 year?
RR: The yarn-bombing was really, really cool. I learned how to knit! And we held these knitting workshops at different universities where everyone got to produce hand made textiles communally. I went to parts of the city I hadn’t been to before and spoke to people I’d never have been in contact with otherwise.
CM: Tell me more about the yarn bomb. What was that experience like and how did you decide on this event?
Stephanie Hornstein: The yarn bombing experience was just so fantastic. Isabelle, my assistant editor, and I got the idea over the summer. We thought it would be a great way to reach out to a lot of people within and without Montrealʼs university scene and to have them interact with a feminist-activist art form. The project was really about bringing a maximum of participants together and all working towards one goal. We reached out to two members of the Montreal yarn bombing collective Les Ville-Laines, Marilène Gaudet and Anne Buisson, people whom Yiara had already been in contact with through our very first issue. They were so enthusiastic and supportive and agreed to help us put together the project. Their expertise was really vital to our yarn bombingʼs success, as was the help we got from various student groups including: the VAV Gallery (Concordia), F Word Zine (McGill), the Colloque en Histoire de lʼart (Université de Montréal), FéminÉtudes (UQAM) and Revue Ex_situ (UQAM) who all helped us set up various knitting and crocheting workshops across university campuses. Overall, the project was really fun and helped us gain a visible presence both across Montreal universities and, as is the nature of yarn bombing, in the public eye.
CM: What’s new about the third issue of Yiara?
SH: Our executive team and our contributors: we have a fresh team of movers and shakers who all brought their own perspective and work ethic to the magazine. Our team has become quite diversified over the years to include people from various programs and different universities. This is something we are very proud of. But each new magazine is really shaped by its content and those who participate by submitting their academic and creative work. This year we are happy to publish artworks in a wide variety of media including fibre arts, video and performance; and written work which tackles subjects from architecture to theatre to 19th century representations of women. Weʼve also made more room for the artistʼs voice this year through two interviews.
CM: Why is Yiara important for the Montreal community?
RR: Yiara is really the opposite of an exclusive or closed off group of editors. This magazine and the people who work on it are always looking to bring in new ideas and people, to collaborate, to share, to discuss. It’s a wonderfully dedicated and open vehicle to work with, and it’s pushing to expand its own borders. It’s diverse too in the way that it extends to all undergrads on the island.
MZ: Yiara is Concordia’s only magazine/journal/anything dedicated to feminism, art and art history. For that reason it is important to Concordia. But the magazine is distributed freely around the city and accepts submission from undergrads across Montreal as well. To have a project that is so clearly dedicated to accessibility and inclusivity is so important in building communities and supporting its members.
CM: What can we expect at the launch party?
SH: You can expect an exhibit showcasing undergraduate artworks that deal with feminist themes, performances, great conversation, and a fresh copy of our magazine, of course!
CM: If you could describe this issue in one word, what would it be?
MZ: After seeing the proof for Yiara issue 3, I believe the exact e-mail I sent our Editor-in-chief, Stephanie, was “wow”.
I know I’m not the only one looking forward to the launch. It’s great to see Yiara’s growth since the first issue in 2013, and there are no signs of it slowing down any time soon!
To find out more about Yiara, check out their Facebook page or website, where you can even view digital copies of the first two issues. And if you’re interested in getting involved with this publication, Yiara will be looking for new executive members in the coming months. Keep your eyes on their Facebook page for the call-out!
Cassandra Marsillo runs artistorian. Yiara’s launch takes place at the Glass Door Gallery (4064 St Laurent) on March 26. 6 p.m.