DIFFERENT STROKES, DIFFERENT FOLKS
“Different Strokes/Different Folks: Queer Artists of Color Paint the 21st Century” is a virtual exhibition of works by LGBTQ+ BIPOC artists that explore the intersections of gender and queerness, along with the interplay of race, class, ability, religion, sex, and sexuality—all against the backdrop of an organization that was founded at the height of, and in response to, the AIDS epidemic.
This exhibition seeks to unite LGBTQ+ BIPOC artists that identify on any part of the queer spectrum, challenging static notions of who is “allowed” to claim the queer identity as well as what it means to be an LGBTQ+ BIPOC artist producing work today. Through their work, artists consider topics that create space to re-contextualize history, the present, and the not-so-distant future for LGBTQ+ communities and spaces.
“Different Strokes/Different Folks: Queer Artists of Color Paint the 21st Century” is made possible in part by the Kors/Le Pere Foundation and with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and administered by LMCC.
MATÍAS ALVIAL – INTERDISCIPLINARY ARTIST
Matías Alvial (b. 1997) is a New York-based artist, community organizer, and activist, originally from Santiago, Chile. He explores themes of identity, human connection, gender, and sexuality. His interest lies with capturing the universality of the queer youth experience, chronicling young adulthood.
“My work, in the greater context, examines issues of power dynamics. How do we gain agency over our bodies? As such, I feel it imperative to claim agency over our narratives through image-making. Many of my latest paintings feature abstracted figures to distort the preconceptions of gender and their roles. Additionally, I keep an intimate autobiographical journal of 35mm film pictures that seeks to document and archive the post-quarantine-pseudo-normal from a queer perspective.”
In the Studio
All pieces are acrylic on canvas
27.6 x 19.7 inches (70 x 50 cm)
LATEFY DOLLEY – MULTIRDISCIPLINARY ARTIST
LaTefy Dolley is a queer multidisciplinary artist from Memphis, Tennessee currently living and working in Brooklyn, New York. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting with a minor in art history at Memphis College of Art in 2014, and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in 2019.
“I’m a multidisciplinary artist that makes video, photo, mixed media, and performance work. My work explores conversations about black queer identity through video, photography, collage, and performance work. The source of the content of my work is black southern culture, archived images, algorithm-based data, and alt-text. My practice proposes a deeper examination of Intersections of Race, Sexuality, Gender, and Class.”
Video, 3mins. 29sec.
MX. ENIGMA – INTERDISCIPLINARY ARTIST
Mx. Enigma, an international award-winning creative, focuses their art work on the intersections of queerness, American culture, and the public’s perceptions. Their work is featured in over 50 galleries in New York City, Toronto, and Los Angeles, including MoMA and the Bronx Museum in addition to 75 film festivals and organizations worldwide such as Tribeca Institute, HBO, and OutFest. They are an alum of the BCI residency in July 2017, a Fall 2019 artist in residence at Judson Memorial Church, and a 2021 Sculptor at Maker Park. In 2020 they worked with NYPL on a play production of “L’Chaim 2 Dykes” about Queer Ex-Hasidic Women who are struggling with their custody battles. Their work has been published in The New York Times, Condé Nast, Broadway World, Them.us, Dazed, Refinery29, HuffPost, The Tab, Univision, Newsweek, and CJN.
“‘It’s a bad fucking time to be a QTPOC being! With over 150 anti-queer laws proposed in Congress since the Trump Admin, and an epidemic of QTPOC mortality due to hate crimes, my dystopian self portrait reflects on my COVID-19 experiences of conforming to a heteronormative environment and even deter my Transition to survive among an abuser during quarantine who only loved the closeted version of me. While documenting the duality of glorifying the beauty of being a non-normative flamboyant being, and the demonization of others’ transphobia; I grapple with finding self-worth to carry 4 my survival in a planet ruled by abusive religious doctrines, that fuels queerphobia while humanizing my alienation. By patching a restorative narrative through memorabilia, I paint a vision for the living, deceased, and yet unborn rainbow kids who like me relied on their ancestors’ blessings to paint the pioneering strokes of our liberation, while aiming my escape of dysphoria, internalized state, and societal obstacles to seek a future where I & my peers are holy & beloved.”
Transitioning Via Covid19, 2020
24×36, Collage Painting
Transitioning Via Covid19 (Detail_1), 2020
Transitioning Via Covid19 (Detail_2), 2020
Transitioning Via Covid19 (Detail_3), 2020
Transitioning Via Covid19 (Detail_4), 2020
NAR JES – VISUAL ARTIST
I’m a multimedia artist originally from Saudi Arabia currently seeking asylum due to their queer identity. Based in NYC, Art is their passion it’s their religion it’s what they believe in is how they exist. It’s how they function I take art seriously as a lifestyle.
“This project aims to reach 100 separate pieces that illustrate a life line on what it means to be queer in all age groups.”
SYLVIA JONES – WRITER
Sylvia Jones is a writer, educator, and prison abolitionist. She earned her MFA from American University. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Shenandoah, Ponder Review, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. She is currently at work on her debut poetry collection, Buzzard. She lives in Baltimore.
“My work utilizes nuance to deal with notions of class inequality, ancestral memory, and loss. Deterioration is a difficult state to maintain dialogue through. As a black gay woman my career ambitions are keenly informed by my interests in inter-sectional dialogues and ensuring accessibility in the arts for those living in the margins of society and history at large.”
Poem 1: STRAIGHT PEOPLE ARE THE REASON I CAN’T READ
First published in Ponder Review titled “Straight people are
the reason I can’t read” (Vol. 3 • Issue 2, Fall 2019)
their subterfuge, a brash impetus
crass, shrewd, and maskedin scientific ridiculousness
a choir of mouths
swiveling in unison like ghetto pterodactyls —singingat me in a kamikaze tenor
down a dig site
split into laser like seconds
riffing off of throwbacks
from the 1980s
before I was alive
AIDS just meant
Poem 2: LA VIDA
After Martin Wong’s La Vida (1988) oil on canvas
Poem 3: ON THE TINIEST OF BUDGETS
downtown, from a woman halfway
leaning off a circa 97 purple Mitsubishi
impossibly shiny and maybe in pain,
halfway facing a valet kiosk
couched between a corner-store
and two different forty dollar hourly
ten level parking garages adjacent to
the spiritual information center,
sporting windbreaker adidas shorts
beneath a ruined plaid vest,
battered loafers, finished off
with churchgoing socks.The rest of her impossibly shiny
fresh unfinished light, detailing
a demon summoning gone
wrong, dealing blackjack
off a tarot deck simultaneously
playing spades simultaneously
trying to sell me a blue rock
for a hundred dollars
REBECCA LEE – WRITER
Rebecca Lee is a writer currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her previous work has appeared in Meatspace magazine. She writes poetry, short stories, essays, and articles. When she is not writing, Rebecca enjoys baking.
“My writing carries a piece of every book I’ve read, every teacher I’ve had, and every experience I’ve had. I want to carry them into writing and reinterpret them into pieces that I can share with other people. I want my writing to resonate with others and spark new ways of thinking. My writing deals with themes of the unseen and the unsaid.”
Poem 1: A Care Package for My Past Self
Send a hug to the past
Things I wish that I wrote
I’ve texted – I’ve missed you – I’ve sent you my best
But remember the most important part!
You’re in motion. You found somewhere to start.
We’re still going.
We’re living and changing and growing.I’d say I’m terribly proud of your arms open wide
And the things that you’ve learned
And the ways you have tried.
If your well-wishes have all worn away
Find a good friend to talk to
Help someone else be okay.There are changes in your future
Like the future always holds
If you hear the world’s not ready
Just remember to be bold.
Poem 2: Swallow Silence
they taste of “things we do not say”
hint of guilt that doesn’t linger
of “things I don’t know how to mend.”Instead they fly away swallow-swift
I wonder how many it will take to fill my lungs.
I wonder what I can do better this way.
Swallow sforzando stillness.Breathe in sunshine.
Breathe out smog.
Swallow silence to keep the unsaid away.
It’s dangerous to feel you can say what you want
but I can’t, I can’t, I speak through a drainpipe clogged with life,
(voice) sputtering through the things I have left to fester there.
Sometimes the ways you listen only serve to make me quieter.
Swallow first reactions and reckless action
It would be silly to voice every opinion that crosses your mind
Not everything is worth saying and
Sometimes it’s the better option.
I swallow the unintended consequences.
We are living and that creates buildup
we accumulate, we save memory, and habit, and backups.
Breathe in sunshine. Breathe out smog.
Somewhere in my respiratory system I harbor
A Krebs cycle that recognizes the
Warbling swallow of my voice.
Wonder at the well-worn wheel.
I find myself radio-staticky,
I find myself storms-edge shiver,
I find myself on the wrong side of a waist-high cinderblock wall.
Swallow the truth before you design a new one.
I am myself and my voice and my silence.
DANIEL ORTIZ – VISUAL ARTIST
Daniel is a Gay, Brooklyn-born painter of Mexican and Puerto Rican decent raised in Yonkers. Very early on Daniel expressed interest in the arts and began exploring with pencil drawings. Over the years he was recognized for his artistic talent and has received many achievement awards.
“The human body has and will always be the inspiration behind all of my work. As an artist I love capturing all the emotions the body is able to evoke within us. I am always seeking new exciting ways to incorporate different elements to my body of work. Not until recently in 2017 did I fall in love with oil paints. Since then, Oil painting has allowed me to bring to life all my visions from simple ideas. Through my work I hope to impact lives by sharing a piece of me in each masterpiece.”
Titled- That Moment
48”x 48” Oil on Canvas
Titled- Heart Breaker
48”x 48” Oil on Canvas
Titled-Make Me Feel
16”x20” Oil on Canvas
KEVIN QUILES BONILLA – INTERDISCIPLINARY ARTIST
Kevin Quiles Bonilla (b. 1992) is an interdisciplinary artist born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He explores ideas around power, colonialism, and history with his identity as context. He currently lives and works between Puerto Rico and New York.
“My current work explores contemporary representations of colonialism. I do so through the intersection of space, history, and politics, with a body like mine transiting between Puerto Rico, the colony and the United States, the mainland. Ultimately, my work seeks to unearth the construction of a historic heritage, using my body as the political container, colonized by multiple structures: As a Puerto Rican, as a diaspora migrant, as a person with a disability, and as a queer man.”
Titled- Colonial Wall Push, 2016
Titled- Self-portrait with a Tarp, 2019
Digital Photo, dimensions variable.
NOELLE SALAUN – VISUAL ARTIST
Noelle Salaun is a Queens, New York-based artist. Salaun strives to connect and communicate with others through her artwork, raising awareness and building a community for those who have faced similar challenges in their lives.
“‘Exotica’ was made to explore the intersections of gender, race, sex, and sexuality. ‘Exotica’ seeks to draw awareness to the over-sexualization of Latin females and LGBTQ people in the mainstream media as well as the pornographic and music industries, as well as my own experiences. My paintings entitled ‘Red (1) Green (1)’ are a diptych and are studies into race and colorism.”
Acrylic, 18” x 12”
12” oil paint circle canvas.
16”x7” Buttons, string, spray paint.
FERNANDO VIEIRA – WRITER / PERFORMANCE ARTIST
Fernando Vieira is a New York-based writer, director, and performer. Many of his works document the effect of heteronormativity and misogyny on the lives of women and queer individuals. Vieira has been part of artistic cohorts at institutions such as NYFA, Creative Capital, and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art.
“Through my writing, I seek to explore the soul of a conflicted human being, who at one point or another will have to break an established order to continue moving forward alive. Survival is an elemental key to the plot, just as in real life. When my writing is capable of giving a person a deep emotional identification, then my existence as an artist has been validated.”
Unlabeled is a work-in progress documentary on my life as a gender non-conforming person.