The month of June is a time to celebrate LGBTQ communities. It’s a moment to reflect on the rich history and culture of the queer community, as well as more recent advances made in the realm of civil liberties. This year, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many queer individuals are navigating greater risks to their health, safety, and livelihoods.
Cognizant of the need to stay connected and elevate queer voices amid uncertainty, Hyperallergic is commemorating Pride Month by featuring one queer art worker per day on our website and asking them to reflect on what this time means to them. If you identify as a queer art worker, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to learn more about how to participate.
* * *
What’s your name?
Where are you based currently?
Describe who you are and what you do.
I am Black queer non-binary artist, animator, and filmmaker. My artwork investigates the constraints of Blackness, gender, and sexuality in order to promote healing. I confront self-imposed and external assumptions about identity, what ties us to an idea of ourselves, and how we can challenge those notions. I’m interested in stories that are not represented enough, and alternate ways of connecting. Presenting an idea with a doll or an animation creates a unique entryway. My work includes animation, drawing, collage, sculpture, and performance. Lately, I have incorporated humor. My art often includes hand-crafted elements. In performances, I have asked participants to tell me about their nemeses so that we could destroy them on paper. In film, I’ve asked if I am Black enough for my peers and myself, and what Blackness is. What does aggressive female sexuality look like? How does one cope with being an outsider and hold self-love? My work exudes strength in its honesty, craft, and visual metaphors. In film, visual arts, and performance, I draw upon my insecurities, confusion, and fear, and invite the audience to reflect on theirs.
Tell us about your greatest achievement or something you’ve done lately that you’re proud of.
After a screening of my film, black enuf*, an audience member told me that I had put his life on the screen and prompted him to be more confident in his identity.
Favorite ways to celebrate your queerness and community?
Dancing, embracing my oddities and supporting queers flourishing as they are.
What’s been top of mind for you lately?
Ways to fight anti-Black racism, mutual aid, and learning about my autism.
Talk to us about your immediate queer community/support systems. (Feel free to shout out other folks or organizations you think are doing important work.)
I’m fortunate to have a chosen family of queers that spans across several states and countries, with whom I stoke a fire of love, support, and kindness. Recently, I aided Amita Swadhin and other queer activists (and straight allies) in raising $250,000 for Queer BIPOC people. I was a fellow at the Leslie-Lohman Museum recently and the guidance, feedback, and community of artists has been mind-expanding.
How are you celebrating Pride Month this time around?
Digging into queer history, listening to Saidiya Hartman lectures, and watching older films
Are there ways you think queer artists and art workers could be better supported?
Healthcare, universal basic income, and more sober social gatherings
In the communities that you’re part of, what are you hoping to see shift in the future?
Slower pace, more understanding of healing time, and discussions of power dynamics.
What’s the first thing you’re planning to do when it feels safer to physically gather again?
Dance and get sweaty with QTs.
Enjoying this series? Check out other entries here.