Laura Ķeniņš

Comic artist

My work draws from history, mythology, folklore, family lore and popular culture. My work in progress, The 90th Birthday, is a graphic novel that moves between the past and present. On the eve of her 90th birthday, an elderly woman, Betty, recalls her childhood and adulthood through the twentieth century into the present while a young filmmaker records her biography on film. Her only wish for her birthday is to have her whole family together. Unfortunately, as her middle child goes through a divorce, the family isn’t exactly on speaking terms with each other.

Moving between Betty’s idyllic recollections of the past and interpretations of the present, and the reality of a family in conflict with each other, the two storylines move from Europe to the Canadian prairies in the early 20th century to the eastern coast of Canada. The 90th Birthday is a work of metafiction exploring immigration, family ties and women’s roles through the twentieth century to today. During my time at Saari, I’ll continue drawing the pages for this book and look forward to the company of the forests, sauna, lo ng nights and fellow residents.

Laura Ķeniņš is a Latvian-Canadian comic artist and writer. She studied printmaking and art history at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax, Canada, and history at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. Her graphic novel Steam Clean was published by RETROFIT COMICS in 2017 and her book Alien Beings was a 2017 DOUG WRIGHT AWARD NOMINEE. Her short work has been published in KUŠ! COMICSKUTI MAGAZINE TRUTHOUTTHE LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKSMATRIX MAGAZINE and others. As a journalist, she has written on arts and culture for CBC and other publications.