Queer | Art has made its mark of being a home in New York, focusing on nurturing the career and artistic development of LGBTQ+ artists. Founded in 2009, Queer |Art was started to introduce an artist-centered approach and public programming to recognize LGBTQ+ cultural legacies. This month, they announced the winner of the Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists for 2023, Golden. Golden will receive professional development support, a $10,000 cash grant, and individual studio visits with members of the judge’s panel to support their work.
Golden, a Black gender-nonconforming trans femme photographer, poet, educator, and community organizer was brought up in Hampton, VA. Surrounded by poets, photographers, local archivists, and historians growing up, it began to shine through Golden in their own creativity. Golden’s work primarily focuses on photography, performance art, and poetry to capture Black trans life in the United States.
As a result, they cover the intersections of self-documentation, family, queer imagination, and Black love. As their work builds on a narrative that is not as often explored. They write, “The ethos of my art practice is to utilize living archives of self-documented photographs of Black trans life within, outside, and surrounding the home, paired with the poetics of Black speech to build, document, and articulate the breath between Black trans living and survival in the United States.”
Jonathan Lyndon Chase, 2023 Illuminations Grant Judge, described Golden’s visual photography as invoking, “power, vulnerability, beauty, and glowing prowess. There are meditations on self-reflection and communal embrace. The documentation on lived experiences in the Queer community and personal self-expression is reminiscent of a home feeling.”
Additionally, 2023 Illuminations Grant Judge, Lauren Haynes, points out, “Each image left me wanting to see more and to engage more deeply with their practice—I am excited to see how Golden’s work continues to evolve.”
On receiving the 2023 Illuminations Grant, Golden wrote: “This award will allow me to complete the installation for my debut solo exhibition, I’m Never Alone, and solidify a live/work space for me close to the community in Boston, Massachusetts. At this moment of precipice, rigor, & transformation in my career, I’m glad to be able to center stability, more time for family, and reflection with these funds. Since the start of the pandemic, I feel like I’ve been running towards this break so I really want to honor what more internal time for experimentation & collaborative work can feed back into my self-portraiture practice.”
Make sure to connect with Golden and follow more of their work and their journey through their website here!
Alongside Golden, four other visual artists were acknowledged Fatima Jamal, Steven Anthony II, Catching On Thieves, and Jhona Xavier.
4th Annual Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Finalists
Fatima Jamal, born in the South, is the writer and the director of the film No Fats, No Femmes. She is also known as “Fat Femme,” a moniker that connects to a life of fat and femme identity. As a result, Jamal’s work acts as a call to action. Her desire for a world open to fat, Black transwomen has led to shedding love and light into “spaces that people are afraid to occupy,” she describes. For this reason, her work has also been featured on platforms such as, ARTFORUM, SEEN Journal, LA Times, and The New York Times. Connect with her and follow more of her work and her journey through her website here!
Steven Anthony Johnson II is an archivist, writer, and curator based in Brooklyn, NY. Using drawing, animation, and phot-documentary, they showcase peace between religious, intellectual, and humanistic ideals in relation to Blackness and “Otherness” in their storytelling. In addition to The Armoury – New York, Johnson’s work has been shown in platforms like, The International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) – New York, VAE Raleigh – North Carolina, Cooper Gallery – United Kingdom, and more. In addition to this, they have been a residence at ISCP, Field Projects, Velvet Park, Inbreak, and The Royal Drawing School. Connect with them and follow more of their work and their journey through their website here!
Catching on Thieves is a multimedia artist who writes about spies & prophets, Y2K conspiracies & the relationship between abstract, perception & interoception in relation to life, and what it means to truly live in this world. Some of her most recent work consists of “Catching on The Nose,” “Memory, Vein,” & “Not One & Simple, or, What Would James Baldwin Do?.” She has been a resident at the Queer Materials Lab, Translab, The Performance Intensive, PAPA, PAAFF, & Session 9 of the Raw Materials Academie hosted at the ICA. Currently, she is mentored by filmmaker Lilly Wachowski & is currently an MFA student at the University of Pennsylvania. Connect with them and follow more of their work and their journey through their website here!
Born and raised in New Jersey and reborn in Boston MA, Jhona Xaviera’s research-based artistic work showcases her healing and survival in modern society. They received their BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University where they researched the history of queer and trans experience in African Diasporic religion and cultural identity. In her multimedia approach to world-building, she created her own origin myth through light, sound, music, poetry, and visual art. Cultivating a cultural space to call her own as they crave a space where Black, Queer, Indigenous, and Disabled people thrive. Connect with them and follow more of their work and their journey through their website here!
Make sure to check out Queer | Art’s website to follow up on upcoming events, development opportunities, awards, and community resources offered here!