In 1972, Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro, in collaboration with students from the CalArts Feminist Art Program, put together a installation called Womanhouse on Mariposa Street in Hollywood.
Each room - the kitchen, bathroom, living space, and bedroom--were all completely deconstructed to infer a cis-female, hyper-feminized space of under-acknowledged and certainly over-utilized labor.
The main objective of this collaborative project asked the visitors of the installation to conceive of a feminist approach to domesticity by problematizing any elements that were positioned within a patriarchal definition of labor and home.
Nearly 46 years later, Queer Home (lands): Privacy seeks to re-examine this endeavor in concept and practice. Home is often a transient concept for queer people--it is a space that is most often relinquished on a psychic and psychological level. Home is persistently redefined, and as James Baldwin suggests, “an irrevocable condition.” As we seek to “queer” the concept of home, we understand that we needn’t look further than the body. We are our home. Therefore, our exploration of home must also include an investigation of privacy.
Queer Home (lands): Privacy will be created in collaboration with the members of the LGBT Center of Raleigh, which was recently forced to find new space. The main gallery of VAE Raleigh will be divided into four rooms of the house: kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. And each room will be assigned to a program or group to collaborate on the design, essentially to “queer the space.”
Additionally, I have chosen three female artists of color who have discerned “privacy” and “home” within their visual work and have fed my writing process. It is their combination of images and their pairing of concepts which has invoked me to write. I encounter this practice as an ekphrastic gleaning of internal information, a generative relationship to privacy.
These artists include: Alexandria Smith, Chitra Ganesh, and Lisette Oblitas Cruz.
Alexandra Smith is a collagist and painter who explores black girlhood in scenes that temper pastel colors with grotesque themes.
Chitra Ganesh is a collagist and painter whose approach is situated within the supernatural future, designing a matriarchal future inspired by Samuel Delany and Octavia Butler.
Lisette Oblitas-Cruz is a burgeoning painter and sculptor, who discovered figure drawing as a coping mechanism while incarcerated in York Correctional Institution. Her relationship to “privacy” involves learning how to be “private in public” while incarcerated for nearly five years.
- Erica Cardwell