Illustrator Kaz Rowe’s graphic biography Liberated: The Radical Art and Life of Claude Cahun, reveals how the creative and courageous Surrealist artist championed freedom at every turn, from rejecting gender norms and finding queer love to risking death to sabotage the Nazis.
At the turn of the 20th century in Nantes, France, Lucy Schwob met Suzanne Malherbe, and lightning struck. The two became partners both artistically and romantically and transformed themselves into the creative personas Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. Together, the couple embarked on a radical journey of Surrealist collaboration that would take them from conservative provincial France to the vibrancy of 1920s Paris to the oppression of Nazi-occupied Jersey during World War II, where they used art to undermine the Nazi regime.
Cahun and Moore challenged gender roles and championed freedom at a time when strict societal norms meant that the truth of their relationship had to remain secret. Featuring 10 photographs by Cahun and Moore, this graphic biography by cartoonist Kaz Rowe brings Cahun’s inspiring story to life.
“Claude Cahun lived at the crossroads of masculine and feminine, of artist and activist, of blessed and cursed by the circumstances and time period they were born into. Rowe weaves together historical photos, direct quotes, and lyrical imagery to tell the tale of this brave queer icon to great effect.” —Maia Kobabe, author of Gender Queer
“The ubiquity of torrid love affairs in the lives of artists has often been used to entice readers, to give us a bit of gossip to pass on after we read. In Liberated: The Radical Art and Life of Claude Cahun, Kaz Rowe presents a different kind of love story—one in which love offers freedom and the passion it ignites isn't only romantic, but something more liberating. Here love is used as an anchor for radicalization and for art, and combined, for freedom. Liberated invites us to fall in love with—and alongside—Cahun. A wonderful read.” —Isabel Quintero, author of Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide and Gabi, a Girl in Pieces
About the Author
Kaz Rowe is a Chicago-based cartoonist, illustrator, and YouTuber, and was formerly located in Los Angeles.
"An uplifting portrayal of the beauty of diversity and courage in the face of oppression . . . A powerful representation of gender diversity and queerness in history, this graphic biography serves as a reminder that LGBTQ+ folks have always existed...and that as long as there’s been oppression, there has been resistance."
“Via sensitively wrought dialogue—some of which was lifted from the subjectʼs own writings—Rowe presents a fascinating portrayal of a figure who directly opposed external expectations and carved a place for themselves within their restrictive upbringing.”
— Publisher's Weekly
"I’ve fallen in love with Kaz Rowe’s YouTube essays recently and was thrilled to discover they have a graphic novel about the life of a queer artist coming out this year. The radical French artist, along with their partner Marcel Moore, used their art to undermine the Nazi regime during WWII. In Liberated, Rowe shares — and celebrates — their story." — Book Riot