10.ilb - 15.09 bis 26.10.10 - Focus Osteuropa
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Birgit Weyhe  [ Germany ]

Biography

Guest 2015.

Bibliography

Ich weiß

Mami

Berlin, 2008

Feinste Reiseextrakte

Hamburg, 2010

Reigen

Eine Erzählung in zehn Kapiteln

Avant-Verlag

Berlin, 2011

Im Himmel ist Jahrmarkt

Avant-Verlag

Berlin, 2013

Madgermanes

Avant-Verlag

Berlin, 2016

www.birgit-weyhe.de

Birgit Weyhe was born in Munich in 1969. Her childhood and youth up to her final year of school were spent in Uganda und Kenya. Returning to Germany at age 19, she subsequently studied German History and Literature in Konstanz and Hamburg before taking academic training in illustration at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences from 2002 to 2008, where Weyhe now also teaches design.

Influenced by her experience of different cultures, Weyhe integrates the style of Europe’s comic avant-garde with African styles. Her works have been shown in exhibitions in Germany, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland, and published internationally in magazines and anthologies. In 2008 she published »Ich weiß« (tr: »I Know«), a volume of four comic-strip stories in which Weyhe links memories of her time in Africa with myths from that continent. After the French-language work »Caméléon« (2009) and »Feinste Reiseextrakte« (2010; tr: »Finest Extracts of Travel«), which she published herself, the artist released »Reigen« in 2011, her analogy of Arthur Schnitzler’s play of the same name. As in the Reigen dance from which Schnitzler took his title, Weyhe’s »Reigen« comprises ten stories, linked by the passing on of a gold christening chain and connecting the fates of people in countries like Canada, Belgium, France and Germany, and on to Kenya. »Stern« magazine described this graphic novel, appropriately, as »a narrative jewel«. In 2013 Weyhe’s »Im Himmel ist Jahrmarkt« (tr: »Carnival in Heaven«) came out, precipitated by unanswered questions about her origins following the death of her father. The »taz« newspaper called it »a grandiose family biography, also reflecting the last 100 years of German history«. Using letters, conversations and photographs, Weyhe reconstructs the life of her grandparents – discovering personal dramas such as a secret abortion, repressed homosexuality, betrayal and guilt. The Goethe Institute Poland recommended an adapted form of this graphic novel as part of its teaching materials for German language classes. Weyhe has conducted workshops on her art for the Goethe Institute in Canada, Uruguay and Argentina, and in 2012 took part in an exchange program for comic-strip artists in São Paulo, Brazil, which ran for four weeks.

After taking first prize in 2009 at the Nextcomic Festival in Linz, Austria, Weyhe won the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung’s 2015 comic book award – Germany’s richest prize for comics and graphic novels – aimed at assisting talented authors. In this case, the prize money enables the completion of »Madgermanes«, a book of some 250 pages, dealing with the lives of former guest workers from Mozambique in East Germany. It is due for publication in 2016.

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