Ivana Armanini: “BOTS – Based on True Stories”

The graphic design of the 23rd International Feminist and Queer festival Red Dawns by Urška Preis, Ph: BOTS


BOTS – Based on True Stories

4.3.2022 at 18:00

Night Window Display Gallery

ACC Metelkova City

1000 Ljubljana

and virtual gallery of spol.si portal


BOTS – Based on True Stories is the exhibition of internationally renowned comic artist Ivana Armanini, which deals with the still current problem of gender stereotyping in public space and offers viewers a critically-humorous reflection and opens a creative debate through comics which are subversively used as a tool of deconstruction gender stereotypes in public discourse.

The author’s works presented at the exhibition are based on stereotypical statements brought up in public-media, related to sexual roles, especially those of women. The artist chooses these from publicly available websites such as bodeča neža, Women’s Rights News, statements on social networks and also from traditional media such as daily and weekly newspapers and television shows. She then portrays the statements, based on real sexist and stereotypical statements, in the visual mediums of illustration and comics. In this way, the author not only (re) depicts the issue of gender stereotyping, but also translates public statements into a new artistic medium and elevates them from ‘irrelevant’ and ‘easily reprehensible’ towards ‘critical discourses’ or starters there-of. These source statements can be heard daily in the media and in everyday conversations, but are often labeled as ‘unworthy’ of in-depth conversations – therefore the artist examines them and critically presents them as a work of art elevated upwards on the front of the Night Window Display Gallery, elevated and presented to all passers-by. Through her unique depictions of statements, Ivana Armanini also draws attention to gender stereotypes, stereotyping processes and the deepening retraditionalization of gender roles in the private sphere during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which harmful stereotypes and traditionally understood gender roles became even more entrenched in individuals’ consciousness.

Literary historian and anthropologist Svetlana Slapšak wrote in the introduction to the publication BOTS – Based on True Stories, titled A Woman with three legs or on the instructiveness of comics about sexuality:

“In the case of Ivana Armanini’s comics, I asked myself yet again why do feminist comics, in this day and age, have to have a touch of instructiveness when it comes to female sexuality. Aren’t we all ashamed of the fact that someone still has to explain to us how a part of our sensitive pleasure apparatus works in a light and kind fashion? Does it have to be drawn for us pictured in black and white or in color? It seems to me that Ivana Armanini is wondering the same thing. Her answer is a vaguely defined three-legged creature that thinks like a feminist: Not as a woman or any other gender but as someone who has finally mastered gender. Which means that it was set free. Let it go free, then, with its third leg, faster towards the future that will eventually come up with its own and renew it sold pleasure. Ivana Armanini’s comic book thus isn’t a textbook but an exercise book. Grammar lies somewhere else, probably in life.

Ivana Armanini’s comics aren’t pretty or baroque or post-something or avantgarde: To me, this is proof that she doesn’t need cynicism, distancing or deconstruction. Her comics are brutal and demand an active approach from the readeress, best right now, in the street, deep within oneself, behind a curtain, during an exchange of views. They bear no burden or past, nor women or comics. If it wasn’t for workshops, tools, schools, paper and all other interventions, these comics would’ve been drawn in ochre onto a cave wall in which a three-legged woman is punishing the bad pupils of desire and pleasure.

Ivana Armanini’s heads of feminists are scalp-less and their gaze is penetrating – at least it seems so to me – the heads are seen from the side, they are not looking at me. Readeresses thus easily begin to believe that they are safe at the very moment the fall into the trap. Because – feminist heads are staring into a risky future where a third leg will be indispensable and the speed will be unstoppable.”

Svetlana Slapšak


The exhibition, which will be held as part of the 23rd International Feminist and Queer Festival Red Dawns, serves as a platform to increase the visibility of current negative developments in the field of women’s human rights, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and as a platform to present feminist works to the general public in the safe environment that the festival itself offers. Through the exhibition, both physical and online, the audience will be introduced to an engaged feminist approach to creating works of art, and creating a non-judgmental but engaging conversation between the author’s works and the audience.


The exhibition is part of the 23rd International Feminist and Queer Festival Red Dawns and the annual programme of the Night Window Display Gallery – both co-financed by the City of Ljubljana – Department of Culture and the Ministry of Culture. The project Strip nad Stereotip (Comics over Stereotypes), within which the publication of the BOTS – Based on True Stories was created, was selected for co-financing in the public tender for equal opportunities for women and men of the Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities for 2021, in production Danilo Kiš Cultural Center from Ljubljana.





Organisation: 23nd International Feminist and Queer festival Red Dawns

Coproduction/coorganisation:  Night Window Display Gallery, Komikaze, KC Danilo Kiš, Spol.si

Design of the poster and graphic design: Urška Preis

Contacts for media and press: Saša Nemec, rdece.zore@gmail.com

Financial support  by Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, City of Ljubljana



With the Ordinance on Interim Measures for the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases COVID-19, which entered into force on 21 February 2022, the Government is also releasing restrictions on cultural activities and the collective exercise of religious freedom. All temporary epidemiological restrictions on the provision of cultural events and other cultural services and on the collective exercise of religious freedom have ceased to apply. Preventive hygiene measures remain crucial. More on gov.si.




Ivana Armanini: “BOTS – Based on True Stories”