New York–based nonprofit Queer|Artwork has announced Keijaun Thomas as the receiver of its inaugural Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women of all ages Visual Artists. Thomas, who life and functions in New York, will acquire a $10,000 money grant as well as support from members of the judges’ panel, who will make personal visits to her studio. The award, the initially of its form, is aimed at correcting the exclusion of Black trans girls artists from the larger art canon while opening a path for other folks.
Thomas, a multidisciplinary artist, was selected from between seventeen candidates from across the nation by a panel comprising artists Juliana Huxtable, Kiyan Williams, and Texas Isaiah, and Thelma Golden, director and main curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem. Thomas’s apply, which involves overall performance, multimedia installation, and poetry, demonstrates on collective ancestral memory while centering on Black therapeutic with the aim of disrupting monolithic representations of Blackness. Often rendering painful histories of Black enslavement, Thomas asks the viewer to contemplate notions of visibility as they pertain to representations of Black bodies and labor.
“Thomas’s body of operate situates her within a modern history of transformative artists utilizing effectiveness to look into and disassemble notions of Black identity,” claimed Golden in a statement. “Through impression-generating, movement, writing, and multimedia set up, Keijaun reimagines and rebuilds collective history and memory, foregrounding Black humanity and producing room wherever culture and group can transcend the quite frameworks her exercise deconstructs.”
“This has been the foundation for my get the job done, aiming to retain black trans women of all ages/femmes protected, to keep us afloat and living in our real truth. This grant will let me to aim my electrical power on building my new entire body of do the job, Can You Do Me a Favor?,” famous Thomas in her assertion. “Thank you all quite a great deal,” she concluded, introducing, “WE ARE Listed here!”
The panel in addition identified four finalists: Bronx painter and illustrator Glori Tuitt, Boston-dependent photographer/poet Golden, Los Angeles multidisciplinarian Jordiana, and New Orleans curator and interdisciplinary art Lee Laa Ray Guillory.