Art has always been an important tool to form social consciousness and create networks. This was why “zines” (short for magazines) have been founded as an alternative outlet for niche topics or writings. These small-circulation self-published works of original texts, images, and artwork, serve as a tool for resistance and social justice movements.
Makò Micro-Press banners itself as a micro, self-publishing press that tackles societal issues like press freedom, state violence, jeepney phaseout, poverty, contractualization, and militarization on Indigenous communities.
Their name, “Mako,” is short for “manlalako” or street vendor, since the group displays and sells their works in small press expos such as BLTX, Gandang-Ganda Sa Sariling Gawa, and Munzinelupa. (Read: 3 Pinoy Komiks That Are Worth Checking Out on penlab.ink)
In an exclusive interview with My Pope Philippines, artists Ian Xenon and Juno Santos walk us through the processes at Makò Micro-Press and the importance of providing a platform for socio-political issues.
Voice for the People
In this time where fake news is becoming the norm, Ian and Juno aim to address the need to talk about human rights issues. (Read: Fake news endangers lives more than COVID-19, and each of us can fix it)
“We are living in a time of deep information and disinformation,” the artists say. “Issues, or more specifically human rights issues, will be further pushed to the sides, disregarded and made insignificant if not given an ample space to be validated and ‘talked about.”
The duo also hopes that through Makò Micro-Press, they could encourage the public to use their voices in making a positive impact.
“We want to encourage and remind everyone that everyone can make zines, not just writers or journalists or pristine artists and geniuses,” the artists explain. “Zines, as we hope for people to see, serves to remind us that it is our right to speak, express, and criticize.”
More than serving as a platform for socio-political issues, Makò Micro-Press was Ian and Juno’s way of taking care of their mental health. (Read: 3 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health While in Quarantine)
“What got us into zine-making was the need for a type of space, where we can freely release and express our thoughts and sentiments about the communities and environments we move about,” the duo explains.
“Our mental health was at stake, you could say. We needed a space where we can elaborate these thoughts and emotions,” they added.
Now that large events are canceled and mass gatherings are prohibited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Makò Micro-Press launched an online sari-sari store where they sell stickers, zines, and apparel.
You may visit their website through this link.