Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom | Grant Recipient for The Excavated Earth

- - -The Excavated Earth- - -

For my upcoming book "Den uppgrävda jorden" (The Excavated Earth), I've interviewed several Chilean first mothers whose children were stolen from them and sold for adoption to Sweden. One of the mothers, who'd been grieving her lost son for over 40 years, asked me, "why do they want our children?" A very good question indeed.

We're taught that transnational adoption is done in solidarity with less fortunate women. It's (white) women taking care of other (often BIPOC) women's children. It's painted as antiracist, heroic – an act of love. Every single day we should ask ourselves that one question when it comes to adoption. Why DO they want our children?

Why do they want them when they intend to:
• separate them from their parents, siblings, relatives and communities
• change their names
• change their identities
• remove them from their countries
• remove them from their cultures
• replace their mother tongues so they can never speak with their first families again

Adoption is not feminism. It's not solidarity. It's not a sisterhood. It's an abusive, genocidal, capitalist practice in the name of reproduction that feeds on the poor, the marginalised and disenfranchised.

- - - Artist's Bio - - -

My name is Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom and I'm a comic book artist, illustrator and adoptee rights activist. I'm currently based in Auckland, Aotearoa, where I live with my partner and our two lovely children. At the age of two, I was adopted from South Korea to Sweden where I grew up in a small, northern village. Ever since I learnt that my adoption was based on fraudulent and manipulated information, I've been fighting for the rights of adoptees and first families. 

My first graphic novel Palimpsest deals with my surreal search for my Korean family, and how I come to learn that the adoption industry is fraught with corruption, coercion and lies. I'm continuing to address this in my upcoming graphic novel, The Excavated Earth, which portrays two Chilean adoptees who were stolen from their mothers and sent for adoption to Sweden. My background isn't in art but in literature and languages, two other things that I absolutely love. When I find the time, I'm also a craft buff and knitting nerd. I make toy animals for my children and once dreamt about becoming a professional puppeteer.

Palimpsest Cover Art
When I realised that most representation of adoption and adoptees was created by adoptive parents or adoption agencies who only portrayed adoption as one-sidedly positive, I decided to challenge this. I started to combine my work as an activist with my art to highlight not just some of the trauma many adoptees live with by problems with the industry itself. My lived experience as a transracial adoptee also pushed me to use my art to address issues of racism and the lack of positive and even neutral representation of people who look like me. 

I think that comics in combination with social media is a very powerful tool to illustrate everything from everyday micro-aggressions to extreme violence and abuse. I want my comics and illustrations to be both informative and comforting. Some people will learn something new from them, whilst others can see themselves being represented. Social media make it easy for people to both access my work and share it, which is the purpose of my Instagram account. While I hope to be able to make a sustainable living out of my art, I always want it to be available for those who need it.

Atlanta 8

Follow Lisa's work @chung.woolrim
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