Last week, a dear friend of mine purchased a DSLR camera — her first! — and she wanted to begin playing with it. So we went to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for an afternoon of shooting with some tutoring and advice here and there.
Of course, I had my Canon 6D Mark II, because I was going to take some shots as well.
At the Queens Museum, there’s a gorgeous mural by Glori Tuitt called Black, Trans & Alive (Qweens Song) on the facade that was scheduled to be on public display through at the Spring. (As of June 28, 2022 it was still up.)
Glori Tuitt is a painter and illustrator, whose work focuses on the intersections of race, religion and pop culture related to the cultivation of identity. Her work is primarily dedicated to the centering of Black trans bodies in the arts — and as a result, she has collaborated with many social justice organizations, with the hope that her practice will return ownership of trans forms to trans artists through the creation of representational, narrative works that explore gender, its formation, historical relevance and expression as participatory action.
Tuitt is one of five artists selected to participate in Not a Monolith, a new public art and professional development initiative for New York City-based emerging Black artists, presented by ArtBridge, Facebook Open Arts, and We The Culture.
Black, Trans & Alive (Qweens Song) is actually part of Tuitt’s series Black, Trans, & ___, which showcases the historic and contemporary contributions Black trans people have made to the city’s social and artistic movements. Created in a similar style of Aaron Douglas’ Aspects of Negro Life, the murals in the series specifically challenge prevailing narratives and depictions of Black trans people with nuance and complexity, while rooted in a simple and powerful message: Black trans lives matter.
The series depicts a number of Black trans femme activists like Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major Griffin Gracy, and GLITS founder Ceyenne Doroshow alongside rising stars including Qween Jean, Tourmaline, and Gia Love. Black, Trans, & Alive (Qweens Song) features Ceyenne Doroshow, Joela Rivera, Qween Jean, Joshua Allen, Raquel Willis, and Aaron Philip.
The work invites the public to participate in an extension of Tuitt’s project called Black, Trans, & Heard, where they can hear narratives of local Black trans femmes who share their personal and collective imagined legacies. To learn more about the project and listen to these legacies, you can visit here: glorituitt.com/blacktrans-.
Before I forget: Not a Monolith aims to amplify a diverse array of Black voices and perspectives by providing New York City-based, emerging artists without outdoor canvases in prominent public spaces across the city’s five boroughs — and mentorship from Black professionals in the art world.
The project’s title refers to the project’s goal to showcase a multitude of Black identities that are more complex and nuanced than the media’s typical, traditional — and woefully inadequate — representations. Not a Monolith offers artists and communities of New York City an opportunity to directly and meaningfully engage with Black Lives Matter and other social, racial and gender justice movements.