Queer Artists of Colour



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Queer Artists of Colour

As we enter Pride month, it is essential to recognise that the LGBTQ+ community would be nowhere without people of colour. Black and Latinx transgender women such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera spearheaded the Stonewall riots, a watershed moment in history that determined the future of queer rights. The global LGBTQ+ community is indebted to the anger, resilience and determination of people of colour, whose relentless pursuit of equality is fundamental to social and political reform.

To celebrate Pride 2020, SODA highlights the cultural and artistic contributions of queer people of colour to our industry. In a time of great division and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to honour the diversity that defines the creative community and recognise those who are producing truly innovative work.

Davinia-Ann Robinson - 'Earth, Body' (2020)

Davinia-Ann Robinson’s art explores the experience of navigating a simultaneously colonial and patriarchal world. Central to this exploration is the black female body, for bodies of colour have been inscribed by sexist and racialised biases for centuries. Her work seeks to investigate the ways that black women’s emotions are shaped by colonial legacies, while pointing to the profound effect that this has on their physical and psychic experiences of place. Davinia’s most recent piece, Earth, Body (2020), achieves this by combining earth and castings of abstract body parts to explore where bodies of colour reside in colonial spaces, questions of power, and the blurred lines of consent that shape women’s everyday lives.

Davinia-Ann is also a founding member of Narration Group, a collective of Women and Non-Binary people of colour. The creative group seeks to reclaim the narratives rendered invisible by dominant social, cultural, and political discourse in western culture, and carve out a space for queer, non-white artists moving forward.

Marco DaSilva ‘Neither Here Nor There’ (2019)

Marco DaSilva’s multi disciplinary art looks to explore the intersections between his Brazilian-American heritage, Queer identity and his experiences growing up in New York City. His paintings use bright neon colours in combination with striking graphic symbols to evoke a tropical mood of vice and opulence mirrored in the political, economic and social ideologies of his two identities. This is distinctly apparent in his recent show ‘Neither Here Nor There’ (2019) with fellow Latin-Ameircan artist Edward Salas, in which they rethink the emblematic New York City Skyline as a symbol for identity, culture, the urban environment, love, and spirituality. The textured hybrid paintings, made of non-traditional materials, reflect a dual identity and sense of belonging that is not rooted in one place, but often floating between two spaces. These works are a manifestation of their understanding of this lived experience.

Patrisse Cullors

Patrisse Cullors is a queer American artist, writer and activist. An advocate for prison abolition in her native LA, Patrisse is one of the three female co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. Brought up in the Jehovah’s Witness community Cullors was forced to leave home when she came out to her parents at the age of 16. Disillusioned by the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Cullors developed an interest in the Nigerian religious tradition of Ifa and has since incorporated its rituals into protest events and her creative work.

Trained as a dancer, Cullors produces and directs performance pieces as well as creating docu-series. Along with Asha Bandele, Cullors co-authored the New York Times bestseller ‘When They Call You a Terrorist’. As an artist, her work focuses on black trauma, healing and resilience and has been performed in theatres and galleries throughout the world. Cullors’ latest performance piece will be “A Prayer for the Runner”. The piece is centred around a prayer she co-wrote with Damon Turner. Cullors describes the piece as a ‘public act of mourning” over the senseless death of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, America. Cullors will perform the piece this Saturday, 13th June, at 12 pm PDT during a series of virtual events the Fowler Museum at UCLA has organised for Pride Month. You can sign up to watch the event via Zoom for free here.

Myles Loftin 'In the Life' (2020)

Myles Loftin recognises the latent power that images hold, and seeks to utilise that power as a means for creating positive change. Still just 22, he is a photographer, director and has shot ads for Adidas and Under Armour and editorial photographs for New York and W magazine. As a queer black male his work focuses on themes of blackness, identity, and representation of marginalised individuals through a unique photographic style which exudes a feeling of vibrance, freedom and youth.

This exploration of what it means to be queer and black has been the central subject of his latest project ‘In the Life’, which expands on feelings of ostracisation in both the general queer populous as well as the black community. This is particularly apparent in photography where there is a distinct lack of visual representation granted to queer identities though the medium. Myles’ photographs aim to elevate the mundanity and humanity of our collective lived experiences by creating images that depict black queer people both in public and intimate settings.

Creativity is about celebrating uniqueness, individuality and standing out from the crowd. Yet, it also centres around collaboration, community and a collective effort to make work that progresses our world. Only by recognising the creative contributions of people of colour to the queer community can we truly honor Pride 2020.

  • Words by The SODA Team
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