There is one main theme at the heart of French illustrator Chloé Wary’s practice, and that is the empowerment of women. From the beginning of her career, as a budding young illustrator fresh out of school, Chloé published her comic book Conduite Interdite, marking her first explorations into her chosen theme. Delving into Saudi Arabia’s women to drive movement, Chloé’s debut comic told the story of the dozens of women who courageously broke the law back in 1990 to fight for womens’ right to drive.
While the law was eventually overturned in June 2018, finally granting women the right to drive, the story allowed Chloé to flex her muscles as a comics artist and storyteller, translating the historic rights movement through pictorial narrative. And ever since, Chloé has continued to echo stories of female emancipation through beautifully detailed drawings. “Women inspire me” she tells It’s Nice That, “and more generally, the people who fight for what is right and fair.”
More recently, Chloe tackled the action-packed subject of women’s football that placed her native country in a frenzy earlier this summer. In Saison des Roses, Chloé captures the women’s section of the Rosigny-sur-Seine football club, “a tight team that defends themselves well on the pitch.” Documenting the team’s captain Barbara along with her fellow teammates, who are all like sisters, the comic follows the squad’s struggle to secure funding and the injustice faced as female players of a male-dominated sport.
Illustrating the squad’s frustrations as their funding is cut and given to the men’s team, Chloé voices the team’s stunned voices through energetic felt tip pens while detailing the players’ attempts to fight for equality in the sexist game. Drawing inspiration from her autobiographical experiences, the comic relays Chloé’s own involvement with a women’s team in Wissous which similarly dissolved to focus on the men’s team.
“The story and characters of Saison des Roses are the result of these moments spent on the field,” she continues, “at a time in life when one learns to take responsibility for one’s choices." As well as drawing from an adolescence spent in Savigny-sur-Orge, she pulls inspiration from Olivier Babinet’s documentary Swagger; Chloé felt the need to express her life in the suburbs after watching the film, celebrating the young women who are both hyper-virile and in touch with their femininity at the same time.
Looking to the future, the illustrator hopes to continually communicate the collective thoughts of her generation. “What do we expect? What we do we want for the future?” she posits through her comics. “What weapons do we have or want to execute our dreams?” With an intention to further explore her home town through her work, Chloé finally goes on to say, “I’d like to show how beautiful it is to me, and to teenagers growing up there. The streets are our own, and I want to show that us women are not weak, and won’t fail.”
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.