Some Kindle Light in the Dark

Jun 16, 2016

Due to the darkness of the events that took place in Orlando, we wanted to share some of the light filled projects, artists and beautiful grantees whose work is essential for our troubled times. They make work that is needed. That matters. That heals. That dismantles and inspires. Take note and maybe find a moment of solace with them. We sure have. 

Carlos Motta
Carlos Motta is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work draws upon political history in an attempt to create counter narratives that recognize suppressed histories, communities, and identities. His work is known for its engagement with histories of queer culture and activism and for its insistence that the politics of sex and gender represent an opportunity to articulate definite positions against social and political injustice.
Carlos will be posting a weeklong series of responses to the Orlando shooting by LGBTQI artists in Bomb Magazine starting on June 15th.
Read Carlos’ Nexus post from 2012.

Movement Generation 
Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project inspires and engages in transformative action towards the liberation and restoration of land, labor, and culture. They have been Kindle grantees and friends for years that their work has always inspired towards collective action.
Movement Generation shared a beautiful piece of writing on June 15th about our need to come together in these scary times.
“As we seek avenues to channel our grief and outrage, we must not let the fight against homophobia and transphobia support and legitimize Islamophobia….Dealing with the burden of this violence should not only rest with queer and trans folks.Those of us who are straight need to step up our love and fight for our queer families and communities. We only get free when all of us are free.”

Julio Salgado
Julio Salgado is a visual artist based in Berkeley, CA. His status as an undocumented and queer immigrant and the bravery of civil disobedience actions by undocumented youth has fueled the content of his activist artwork.
On June 15th, Julio shares a very personal and sobering reflection on what happened in Orlando in the East Bay Express.
“A Latin night at a gay club is not just a place to dance cumbia and salsa. It’s a place for Brown and Black bodies to come together and dance the night away, to try and forget, at least for one evening, about the bullshit that we deal with every single day. Every time we go out and be our full queer selves, there’s a fear in the back of our heads that someone will harm us.”

Southwest of Salem
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four excavates the nightmarish persecution of Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez — four Latina lesbians wrongfully convicted of gang-raping two little girls in San Antonio, Texas. This bizarre case is the first to be adjudicated under momentous new legislation: for the first time in U.S. history, wrongfully convicted innocents can challenge convictions based on debunked scientific evidence called ‘Junk Science’. The film also unravels the sinister interplay of mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor which led to this modern day witch hunt during the ‘Satanic sexual abuse hysteria’ from the late-80’s and early-90’s in the United States.
Read an interview with the film’s Director, Deborah S. Esquenazi. 

Kent Monkman
Kent Monkman is well known for his provocative reinterpretations of romantic North American landscapes. Themes of colonization, sexuality, loss, and resilience – the complexities of historic and contemporary Native American experience – are explored in a variety of mediums, including painting, film/video, performance, and installation. His glamorous diva alter-ego Miss Chief appears in much of his work as an agent provocateur, trickster, and supernatural being, who reverses the colonial gaze, upending received notions of history and indigenous people.
Read Kent Monkman’s 2015 Nexus post. 

Meriem Bennani
Meriem is a New York based artist currently working on videos and photographs documenting the life of Fardaous Funjab, the avant-garde Moroccan Hijab designer. The project explores the encounter of fashion and religion with a focus on the aesthetics of sexuality/sexiness in a contemporary Muslim context. Bennani is interested in dissolving tropes and questioning systems of representation through a strategy of magical realism and humor as an unreliable pacifier.
Read Meriem’s Nexus post from 2015.

Taslim van Hattum
Taslim van Hattum is a multi-disciplinary artist raised in Northern New Mexico to the sounds of the Turkish saz in a woodshop in the village of Abiquiu. Her work focuses on how contemporary society intersects with religious and sociopolitical identities, representations and women–challenging and exposing the way in which space, personhood, belief and popular culture are connected and imagined by the viewer. Her work disrupts notions of Muslim womanhood, Muslim femininity and identity without resorting to easier tropes of aniqabi in a bikini or other more simplistic juxtapositions that don’t always delve deeper into the subtlety of what it means to vacillate between cultures, religions, identities and loyalties. Her work is at once indigenous to her experience as a Muslim woman, deeply critical of her own cultural and religious frameworks, and irreverent, silly, and crafted with purpose.
Read Taslim’s Nexus post from 2015.  

Jibz Cameron a.k.a Dynasty Handbag
Jibz Cameron/Dynasty Handbag is an exorcism of deranged characters and failures born from a patriarchal, consumer-driven society, performed on stage using pre-recorded voice overs and video interaction. A recent work of her, Soggy Glasses, A Homo’s Odyssey is a feminist, comedic, fanny-packed, monomythic hero-journey. Using Homer’s Odyssey as both dramaturgical framework and toilet paper, Dynasty Handbag recasts the masculine allegory of returning home in a feminist context, on a voyage though her extremities, heart, mind, bowels and artist colon-y. Using voiceovers, video interaction, and a giant plush “hero” sandwich, Dynasty Handbag employs female physical and spiritual bodies as the terrain for her journey home, in an ultimate Homeric search for her true nature, and she will most likely fail.
Dynasty Handbag regularly hosts an event in LA and coming up on June 30th in NYC called Weirdo Night. A safe, experimental, artist/comedy smorgasbord.

Sins Invalid
Sins Invalid is a disability justice based performance project that celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized. Their performance work explores the themes of sexuality, embodiment and the disabled body. Led by disabled people of color, they develop and present cutting-edge work where paradigms of “normal” and “sexy” are challenged, offering instead a vision of beauty and sexuality inclusive of all individuals and communities. “Sins Invalid recognizes that we will be liberated as whole beings – as disabled/as queer/as brown/as black/as genderqueer/as female- or male-bodied – as we are far greater whole than partitioned. We are committed to social and economic justice for all people with disabilities, moving beyond individual legal rights to collective human rights. Our stories, embedded in analysis, lay the foundation for a collective claim of liberation and beauty.”
Read Sins Invalid’s Nexus post from 2014.

Cohdi Harrell
Cohdi Harrell is a New Mexico born acrobatic performance artist. A primarily self-taught trapeze artist and an un-trained dancer, his unique approach to acrobatics and performance-making comes from over 12 years of research through improvisation and studying with select coaches internationally. His work has been hailed as “vital to the evolution of contemporary circus in America.”

Cohdi was our first ever Makers Muse recipient whose main medium is movement. His acrobatics, dance, and performances are impressive expressions of mailability, skill, and passion. His work makes the unseen seen and therefore helps to answer some of these challenging questions about the places each of us occupy and identify with. He holds us in rapturous attention with his work.
Read Cohdi’s Nexus post from 2013.