Beyond Your Feminist Feed

Fourth Year of Feminist Magazine Aims to Expand Perspectives on Art History

  • The magazine uses various mediums to express its feminist pillars. These collages are in sync with the magazine’s social conscience. Collage courtesy Sarah Amarica

Art, history and feminism—these three topics are difficult to conceptualize individually, let alone collectively. And yet, a team of undergrad students is attempting to do such a task—all within the confines of a magazine.

Yiara, a feminist art and art history magazine based out of Concordia, strives to critically analyze these subjects while including a wider range of perspectives.

“I care a lot about what stories get told. You see a lot on Instagram and online, but you also start to get tired of seeing the same things,” said Amelia Wong-Mersereau, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine.

Yiara, in its fourth year of publication, isn’t just pages of beautiful pictures and design. Rather, it has enough social conscience and political engagement to recognize that the kind of feminism most people are exposed to leaves many voices unheard.

To some, feminism is a monolithic, intimidating ideology spouted by middle-class, cis-gendered white women—but this point of view is limited, and in no way representative of half the world’s population. 

To remedy this situation, some feminists,—namely the women at Yiara —want to give a voice to marginalized women of different social classes, cultures, races and religions. 

“We all decided together that we weren’t just going to be passive and publish things that looked nice,” said Wong-Mersereau of herself, and the rest of the 14-person team. “We actively want to be thinking, ‘Has this story been told before, and who have we not heard from who doesn’t necessarily get published?’”

To some, feminism is a monolithic, intimidating ideology spouted by middle-class, cis-gendered white women—but this point of view is limited, and in no way representative of half the world’s population. 

Multiple feminist perspectives can occasionally be divergent, but those at Yiara aren’t worried. “Feminism is a discussion, right? It’s not a fixed definition, and because it’s a discussion, it doesn’t mean that it’s always going to be cohesive,” explained Wong-Mersereau.

“We all decided together that we weren’t just going to be passive and publish things that looked nice…We actively want to be thinking, ‘Has this story been told before, and who have we not heard from who doesn’t necessarily get published?’” — Amelia Wong-Mersereau, Editor-in-Chief of Yiara Magazine

“There’s going to be conflicting parts to it, and were okay with having text that doesn’t necessarily work with another image.”

Yiara’s mandate to publish new perspectives on feminism in art hasn’t changed, but since its inception in 2013, the free magazine has grown and evolved.

The number of printed copies have gone from 300 to over 500 in the past year, and is entirely funded by sponsors and grants. They received a record number of submissions in both English and French from students at Concordia, McGill, Université de Montréal and UQAM. In addition, the publication is available online and their website is updated with content not found in the magazine. 

The upcoming issue will feature a series of paintings, a woven piece, an embroidery piece, a curatorial proposal, a critical essay, poetry, prose, and photography—all written and designed by women or non binary folk. 

“So that’s huge,” said Wong-Mersereau. “But of course, there are so many things we still want to do, to just keep getting bigger and better.” 
This ambitious, thoughtful magazine shows no signs of slowing down soon and hopes to appeal to a wide range of readers—not just mainstream feminists. 

“There’s so many things that get in the way of people picking up a magazine that is feminist or calling themselves feminist,” but at the end of the day, “feminism is a conversation that is open to all and is inclusive to everyone,” according to the magazine’s editor.

_Yiara Magazine’s Launch Party and Vernissage // March 31 // 1181 Ste. Catherine St. W. // 7:00 p.m. // More Info here.

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