An off-shoot from the Latvian anthology š!, mini kuš! is a series of short single works, released in blocks of four as standalones. As always, this latest batch is a mix of bizarre and somber, outrageous and poetic that worth embracing, even if you find some of the ultimate meanings of the pieces to be distant from your perception. They’re relying on your own powers of interpretation, though, so what you bring to them is what you get out of them.
Ingrida Picukane’s “Three Sisters” follows the titular siblings on a walk in the wilderness and the beauty and strangeness they encounter there. In particular, they find an odd naked man which, to the eyes of the readers, stands out from nature, but in the eyes of the sisters, seems to be just another part of it. Wrought almost entirely in basic French that is simple enough to follow if you have the grounding — there’s also a mystery language from the man, which I suspect is just a made-up language, but maybe not — this is a consistently amusing and often dark examination of how we look at humans in context of the world, realized in bright colors and intricate patterning.
Tara Booth’s “Unwell” is a beautifully rendered pantomime following a woman through her day, which is mostly spent with her dog. Starting from the morning where she wakes up a little worse for wear from the night before, and finishing up, cozy in front of the television with some pizza, the events of the day unfold as playful and absurd, with two of the best sequences being a shower scene and attempt to find the right style for the day, followed by a frustrating session in front of a canvas that results in desperate measures to create art.
Finnish artist Hanneriina Moisseinen offers a beautiful tale of a farming family having to evacuate their village in 1944. At the very same moment, a cow is about to give birth, and they must decide how to handle the situation in practical terms. It’s a downer, to be sure, but the moody black and white pencil work, spare dialogue, and foreboding of the terror of war offer an honest fable of the horrible choices innocent people are forced to make.
Aisha Franz’s “EYEZ” is a playful conceptual piece that follows a person in a futuristic setting through an inexplicable event. While reclining nude in the sun on top of a futuristic skyscraper, a man spots a drone spying on him and flees. What transpires inside the home is mysterious and alien, to say the least, touching upon concepts of gender and paranoia. I’m not going to pretend it isn’t entirely confusing, nor am I going to say it’s worth ignoring. It begs you to keep going through it to unlock the meaning, whether there actually is one or not. You will be delighted by the the Ditkoesque aspect of the art, at the very least, which adds to the mystery.
John Seven is a journalist and children’s book writer living in North Adams, Massachusetts. His books include ‘A Rule Is To Break: A Child’s Guide To Anarchy,’ ‘Happy Punks 1-2-3,’ ‘Frankie Liked To Sing,’ and others. Find out about all his things at johnseven.me.