To mark Pride month, MIEN at TRNK in New York sees photographers including Texas Isaiah, Dorian Ulises López Macías and Guanyu Xu sell their work to raise money for homeless LGBTQ+ youth
Yesterday, over 15,000 people gathered at Brooklyn Museum, New York to declare that Black Trans Lives Matter, in light of the murders of Dominique Rem’mie Fells and Riah Milton this past weekend, and to unite against the continuing violence committed against black trans people in the United States. This protest – part of the wider Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the world – signalled a change in how Pride month is being marked, not with corporate-sponsored parades and parties but with an urgent sense of activism and necessity to widen what it means to be representative of the LGBTQ+ community, which still holds white faces as the standard.
It was in this same spirit that a new digital exhibition and print sale, MIEN, launched last week at TRNK, a New York-based design studio, to mark the beginning of Pride month. Exploring portraiture by queer photographers of colour “who explore identity beyond visibility” and avoiding the exotification of black and bodies to “take authorship over individual lived experiences while also acknowledging contributions to a representative body politic”. The range of artists involved include Naima Green, Dorian Ulises López Macías, Elliott Jerome Brown, Jr., Simone Thompson, Guanyu Xu, Nelson Morales, Derrick Woods-Morrow and Texas Isaiah, whose work spans fashion, art and portrait photography.
Organised by Tariq Dixon, co-founder of TRNK – who wanted the works in MIEN to be in conversation with one and other – the exhibition is now available to view online, with prints available to purchase in support of the Ali Forney Centre, a New York-based charity which houses and mentors homeless LGBTQ+ youths from across the country. Each of the poster-sized prints – 20cm x 30cm – is being sold for $75 until June 30, with all proceeds going to the centre.
“I think every queer and person of colour can relate to the tension between community and self explored by this group exhibition. The paradoxical burden, yet privilege of always representing something larger than oneself,” Dixon says. “The fury over society’s attempt to erase individual experiences, but the fulfillment earned by inspiring others who see themselves in you. Each of these artists interrogates this understanding in their own unique way. The artworks are strong assertions of the artists’ undeniable individuality, but they all join together in celebration of a shared queer identity.”