Introducing the official poster for the 16th Annual San Francisco Zine Fest, designed by guest of honor Trinidad Escobar. Signed prints will be available for sale at the fest; proceeds benefit SFZF.
About the poster and her process, Trinidad says:
"I modeled the sirena's face after my nieces -- girls who live along the ocean in Bataan, Philippines. The creatures in the poster are all marine life that can be found in the Philippine coral reef and the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world's oceans.
"A sirena, in many folktales from the Philippines, is an engkanto, (a spirit or liminal being), who inhabits the ocean. In some cases, she is a spirit who was once human, died, and whose spirit returned to look after her beloved sea. In other stories, she was once a fisherman or healer who reincarnated as an actual merperson. In either case, she is typically a wrathful and cunning creature who has vowed to protect all life in the ocean and will harm humans if needed. In pre-colonial times, the stories described her as beautiful. In post-colonial times, she was described as hideous, thus changing the way Pilipinos connected with her. The sirena has psychological and cultural importance including concepts of feminine power, environmentalism, animism, and indigeneity. Once a part of Philippine belief systems, the sirena was reduced to a fairytale.
"Mars Ravelo (1916-1988) was a Pilipino comic creator of one of the most popular mermaid characters in the Philippines, "Dyesebel" (Jezebel). Ravelo first showcased her in Pilipino Komiks in the 1950s and then several films were born from her story, thereby popularizing what colonists tried to scare out of Pilipino psychology. Comics have been critical to Pilipino storytelling for a long time (Jose Rizal, our national hero, once made a comic about oppression before the Philippine Revolution in 1896) and, to come full circle, I wanted to make a shoutout Mars Ravelo on this poster."