In the French port town of Calais, famous for its historic lace industry, a city within a city arose. This new town, known as the Jungle, was home to thousands of refugees, mainly from the Middle East and Africa, all hoping, somehow, to get to the UK. Into this squalid shantytown of shipping containers and tents, full of rats and trash and devoid of toilets and safety, the artist Kate Evans brought a sketchbook and an open mind. Combining the techniques of eyewitness reportage with the medium of comic-book storytelling, Evans has produced this unforgettable book, filled with poignant images—by turns shocking, infuriating, wry, and heartbreaking.
Accompanying the story of Kate’s time spent among the refugees—the insights acquired and the lives recounted—is the harsh counterpoint of prejudice and scapegoating arising from the political right. Threads addresses one of the most pressing issues of modern times to make a compelling case, through intimate evidence, for the compassionate treatment of refugees and the free movement of peoples. Evans’s creativity and passion as an artist, activist, and mother shine through.
“It's impossible to read Threads without feeling an emotional response, from outrage to tenderness to deep frustration.”
“Through Kate Evans’s firsthand report from the Calais Jungle we meet the refugees, get a vivid look at their living conditions, and witness the impressive resourcefulness of the volunteer operation that sprang up to help. Evans transforms the human ‘flood’ into shimmering droplets as she works and eats with the refugees, getting to know them as individuals, forging intimate connections while sketching their portraits. Evans both captures the wrenching reality of a seemingly intractable problem and makes an eloquent argument for its solution: open borders.”
“Threads is helpful, and even necessary: as existentialists like Camus and Sartre pointed out, we really feel compassion and empathy when we see the suffering of others. Which makes visual-oriented journalism, like this ‘comics journalism’ so powerful: we ‘see’ the people Evans saw and met.”
“A moving first-person account of a volunteer in the refugee camp at Calais, France.”
“This colorful, large format graphic novel, which Verso is publishing in June, takes readers into the heart of the jungle; the troubled, overcrowded refugee camp in Calais, France, that was home to many African and Middle Eastern refugees until it was evacuated in 2016. British cartoon-artist Kate Evans fashions a moving, visceral record of the families and conversations she witnessed there, which she juxtaposes with images of anti-immigrant rhetoric displayed on cell phones.”
“[Threads] focuses on a specific place and individual experiences, but they form a universal composite of suffering that has been met with varying degrees of sympathy, panic and fatigue from "host" societies in Europe and North America…Evans challenges the idea of where we consider the legitimate crossing of boundaries to begin: Migritude is the way of the world today, it can be resisted or embraced, but regardless, it is part of us.”
“With a heavy heart and bearing artistic gifts, Kate Evans draws the faces of refugees coming from Syria, Africa, and elsewhere to ‘The Jungle,’ a makeshift camp in Calais, France, and in doing so Evans captures the refugees’ full humanity, intelligence, and suffering as they search for family, home, and dignity. An antidote to the anti-immigrant populism that is raging across the world, Threads is the real story that puts a human face on a very topical news item.”
“Evans' latest graphic novel recounts her time volunteering at one of the many refugee camps that have sprung up along the French coastline to house Africans and Middle Easterners who have fled their home countries. Using her talents as an artist to draw portraits of the camp's inhabitants, Evans gets to know some of them and their stories...[Threads] has an agenda, but it's an important one, and Evans' accont of the refugee crisis is moving nonetheless.”
“British cartoonist Kate Evans documents the lives of refugees stuck in French detention camps as they long to complete their journeys to England...emphasizes the power of comics journalism to not simply depict, but to interpretively transform.”
“Evans's raw, bright drawings of dark outcomes will attract anyone interested in the international refugee crisis, as she allows us to walk briefly in her – and their – shoes.”
“Artist-activist Evans immediately announces, ‘Everything you are about to read really happened.’ Calais, France, is the site of ‘the Jungle,’ where thousands of international refugees comprise a ‘microcosmic Disunited Nations.’ During Evans’ 2015–2016 volunteer trips, she recorded the increasingly dangerous conditions, the paralyzing waiting, and the disappearing resources; beyond the Jungle, she exposed the rising European hostitility toward refugees. Evans’ visual layout is especially affecting: as she edges and divides pages with the local lace for which Calis is famous, juxtaposing its beauty agains real-life Jungle horrors.”