The Art Of Maia Kobabe Exhibit Tops Banned Books Week Events On Campus

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Dominican University of California is hosting a pair of events centered around Banned Books Week.

Dominican gender neutral alum Maia Kobabe ’11, whose book Gender Queer was among the 10 most challenged books of 2021, is hosting an opening reception for “Gender Queer: The Art Of Maia Kobabe” on Saturday, October 1, from 2-4 p.m. in the Joseph R. Fink Science Center Gallery.

This exhibition follows a community read-a-thon outside Guzman Hall on September 21 featuring Dominican President Nicola Pitchford, students, faculty, and staff reciting excerpts from a challenged book of their choosing to show their appreciation for the authorship and readership of these works of literature.

According to an analysis published by PEN American, a free speech and literary organization, books were banned at least 2,500 times by more than 130 school districts across more than 30 states since 2021. Banned Books Week is an annual week-long celebration bringing to light historical and current attempts to ban books in schools and libraries. This year it’s being celebrated September 18-24 with the theme: Books Unite Us.

Banned Books Week started in 1982, making this the 40th anniversary of recognizing the freedom to express ideas and access information of all types. The American Library Association (ALA) launched it as a response to a very sudden surge in the number of books being challenged in schools, libraries, and bookstores.

The banning of Maia’s first full-length novel Gender Queer: A Memoir published in May 2019 was chronicled in a New York Times story. Maia, who earned an undergraduate degree in BFA in Studio Art with a minor in Art History from Dominican in 2011, is a nonbinary, queer author and illustrator from the Bay Area. Eir short comics have been published online by The Nib and The New Yorker, and in many print anthologies including The Secret Loves of Geeks, Faster than Light Y’all, Gothic Tales of Haunted Love, Advanced Death Saves, and Be Gay, Do Comics.

Before setting out to work freelance full-time, e worked for over 10 years in libraries. Eir work is heavily influenced by fairy tales, homesickness, and the search for identity.

The “Gender Queer: The Art Of Maia Kobabe” exhibit will be on display in the science center’s first floor gallery from October 1 through March 22, 2023 during science center hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Attendees must follow Dominican’s Health and Safety guidelines for indoor events.

For more information, contact Sandi Chin, Director of Dominican University Community Exhibitions, at sandi.chin@dominican.edu

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