Artwork is a medium through which ordinary lives and faces can be stylized into aesthetic representations. But all too often, the unique experiences embodied by QPOCs are absent or erased from mainstream art, due to the multi-layered otherness of QPOC identities. Using QPOCs as his artwork’s centerpieces, Queens-based artist Mojuicy helps address this void by depicting QPOCs performing every day activities like sitting on the stoop or sharing intimate moments with a partner at home. The characters in Mojuicy’s work help remind us that despite our unique community and experiences, our daily lives as loving, caring, living human beings are also worthy of artistic attention.
Mojuicy, the pseudonym for illustrator Mohammad Fayaz, depicts QPOCs spanning various cultures, religions, and sexualities. A native of NY and a self-taught artist, the diversity depicted in his artwork reflects the same diversity that one can find in the streets of New York City. The bright colors he uses in much of his work help allude to the vibrancy in his characters’ seemingly mundane activities. Additionally, some of his pieces are overlain with text that affirms self-love as well as positive communication within queer couples. Check out examples of Mojuicy’s work at http://www.mohammedfayaz.com/work.
Mia Mingus is a writer, aboltionist and community organizer and organizer who focuses on disability justice and transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse. She is a queer, physically disabled Korean transracial and transnational adoptee, “born in Korea, raised in the Caribbean, nurtured in the U.S. South, and now living in Northern California.” Mingus is part of the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective (BAJTC), which works to build non-state transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse. Her other work urges activists to creatively and productively think beyond the non-profit industrial complex.
Mingus’ writing can be found on her blog, Leaving Evidence, and in publications such as make/shift magazine and the forthcoming The Wind is Spirit: A Bio/Anthology of Audre Lorde. In 2013, along with fourteen other women, Mingus was recognized by the White House as an Asian and Pacific Islander Women’s Champion of Change. Other accolades and awards include being named in the Advocate’s 40 Under 40 in 2010 and the recipient of the 2008 Creating Change Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Mingus continues to give talks, trainings and workshops across the country, and recently near Connecticut as the keynote speaker of the 2015 New England Queer People of Color Conference at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island in April.
DarkMatter is a trans/non-binary South Asian performance art duo composed of Alok Vaid-Menon and Janani Balasubramanian. Though based in New York City, DarkMatter performs sold-out shows on stages and in venues across the world. They were recently featured in the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival, the Lincoln Center’s La Casita Festival and the Queer International Arts Festival.
In their own words: “darkmatter and darkenergy collectively comprise 96% of the universe, but you can’t see or understand them, except in their effects. we think of our work as politically doing the same — evincing phenomena otherwise understood in their effects. we also think challenging the ways we think about space/time/matter is key to dismantling systems of oppression.”
The duo is known for its “quirky aesthetic and political panache”, and through a strong social media presence, writes and posts daily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Topics covered range widely but focus strongly on radical QTPOC issues, trans and gender politics and social justice. Most of their performance is through spoken word poetry.
DarkMatter performed at Yale in April 2014 and is currently on its #ItGetsBitter national tour in support of the duo’s latest published collection of poetry, It Gets Bitter.