This weeks Illustrated Women in History was submitted by Jan (LeToMaGiC zine) for the Illustrated Women in History exhibition in April 2017 at Swindon Central Library.
Marina Ginestà i Coloma
Marina Ginestà Coloma was born in Toulouse in 1919, because her leftist working-class parents had emigrated from Catalunya to France. Her grandmother Micaela Chalmeta had been a pioneer of feminism and, as a member of the Socialist Party, had participated in the Setmana Tràgica in Barcelona 1909. The family Ginestà i Coloma returned there when Marina was aged eleven. The whole family got involved in the cooperative movement and the Second Spanish Republic. During the Spanish Civil War Marina Ginestà Coloma worked as a journalist and translator for French speaking people. The Cuban writer Pablo de la Torriente Brau and the Russian journalist Michail Jefimowitsch Kolzow both described her as “a fighter at the barricades” and an “example for the feminism in Spain”. The famous photographer Juan Guzmán took a picture of her in 1936, that shows the 17-year-old girl posing with a rifle on the top of the Hotel Colón. Although she had been at the front in Aragon, Marina Ginestà Coloma later pointed out that this was the only time she was holding a gun in her hands in her life. After fleeing from fascist ruled Franco Spain to France and again from expanding fascist Germany to Mexico, she later lived in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, France, Belgium, USA, Ecuador and the UK before she died in Paris in 2014.
“A woman’s place is in the revolution!” was written on a sign at the Barcelona Women’s March on the 21st of January 2107. And this pretty much sums up what Guzmáns photograph stands for since it has been published in 2002. It inspired me to publish a mini art zine called “Letters To Marina Ginestà Coloma” (LeToMaGiC). Since 2002 Marina Ginestà Coloma became (first without her knowing) one of the iconic persons of the Spanish Civil War. For me she stands for the ideas the people fought for in the Spanish Civil war as well as the compatibility of political ideals and the youthful lust for life. For both issues gender shouldn’t matter. That’s why I’ve chosen not to use the famous photo as model for my cut out, but a less known one. Even though the revolution perhaps needs violence sometimes, we should find pacifistic answers whenever possible!