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Although the building currently remains closed, we were very excited when, earlier this month, a large-scale artwork was installed at Platform. The installation features panels taken from the first issue of Beats of War a brand-new comic book created by Etienne Kubwabo. If you are in the neighbourhood please pop along for a look - the artwork can be viewed externally from the Bogbain Road entrance to the building (opposite Griers pub and The Lochs Shopping Centre).
We caught up with Etienne to learn more about him and his work…
Can you tell us a little about your work, what inspired Beats of War?
I’m a filmmaker and I love making films but there is a lot that I want to do, stories that I want to tell that sometimes we can’t do because of the budgets we have to work with: the limits of the budget.
With Beats of War we wanted to tell something fresh, a story about Glasgow. I’ve been here since I was a teenager and have a real connection with the city. I have experienced some really cool things, some really bad things too but have met friends, great friends and it’s home. We don’t really have black superheroes here in Scotland and I was excited for that to change. Having the idea to tell the story and knowing what we wanted to do with it, I knew it was going to be hard to make it happen on film with a limited budget but comic books are perfect, the best way for us to tell the story.
It’s a story about Glasgow and that felt fresh too - we have Batman and Superman but it’s great to see the place and the humour of the city in the comic. I love the look of Glasgow and Edinburgh, the sites, the buildings and landmarks and I love when people recognise these in the comic.
I write the stories and make initial sketches - when it comes to the places, I go outside, walk around, take pictures and send them over to the other artists I work with for them to work on. There are four people working on Beats of War and we cannot wait for people to read issue two!
You’re a DJ and filmmaker too - what are you working on just now?
Right now I’m working on the second draft of a script for a feature film - that should be ready next year. Alongside that, I’m working on issue four of the comic book too. I’m always DJing, I do it for fun, it’s relaxing, everyone likes music and it’s one thing that can connect us all. I’m into electronic pop, afro-beats and drums. It’s like my hobby, I love it! I’m interested in Afro-fusion - in making and playing it.
When can we read issue two and how can we find more of your work?
It’s coming! We self-publish the comic book which is good and means we can act on certain things quickly but things can get tricky when it is busy and with people calling, podcasting, radio and television - it can hard to work on everything at the same time. Check out my website: www.mileawayfilms.com to order a copy of the comic and up to date information about everything else I’m up to. You can also find me - Dir.EtienneK on Instagram and @kubwabo on Twitter.
And any advice for any comic book creators, DJs and filmmakers that might be reading this?
The only thing people should do, if you have an idea, however silly or stupid - just go for it. No waiting around - get on it!
Etienne’s work forms part of nationwide Black Lives Matter Mural Trail. Led by Creative Producer Wezi Mhura, the trail features bold, challenging and powerful artwork created by artists from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, all living in Scotland. For more information about the project and details about the other venues and sites across the country head to www.wezi.uk/blm-mural-trail/
The BBC’s The Social featured Etienne and his work - you can view it here.
Photograph by Stefani Calderara www.sc-photographer.co.uk