the body narratives

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On the Tumblr-sphere, some of you may have already encountered this bad-ass British Pakistani Photographer Sanaa Hamid through her viral Cultural Appropriation Series . But as a Pakistani woman myself, this particular series rendered a powerfully familiar and nuanced exploration of women’s body politics across the Subcontinent. 

“Through Her Eyes”shows her attempts to conform to culturally inherited expectations and ideologies that are sometimes imposed on her.

It is portrayed through a series of performative self portraits, using the aesthetic style of Bollywood films and Pakistani actresses that her Mother admired at the same age as her. It is a collaboration between herself and her mother, as the latter is given the responsibility to press the shutter, immortalising her as an image of a particular character; literally “Through Her Eyes”.

It is an exploration of self, while also questioning how possible it is to know those closest to us, and the absence of our true self even with your own mother, who should be the person closest to you.

By displaying the work as a series of four photographs, Hamid takes the viewer through a succession of personalities, encouraging speculation about the photographer herself and her true identity. Hamid reinterprets the self portrait to make reference topical issues of multiculturalism and ethnic identity. Her discomfort in being in front of the camera is another important aspect of the process, as it is parallel with the difficulty of becoming the character.

Also discussed is the modern depictions of Pakistani women, who have very little positive representation within the media and the beauty industry. Hamid’s intention is not to cast a negative view upon her cultural background, but to create awareness about the distinctly different moral guidelines she lives by compared to British culture. In her role as Bollywood stars such as Meena Kumari (images 1 & 2) or Rekha (image3) and Devika (image 4), she is accepted not just by her culture, but by society. She is perfect.

You can find our more about Sana and her other work that powerfully explores gender, race, religion, and multiculturalism on her website

I really believe that applying poetry, or language in general, to trauma is the ultimate act of reclaiming. Naming something gives you a sort of ownership over it (hey, colonialism did it all the time, haha), so choosing words that identify your experience makes it less of this looming unknown that has you at its mercy. It makes everything less ‘something that happened to me’ and more 'experience/story that belongs to me,’ you know?
—  Safia Elhillo, interviewed for The Body Narratives
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[Hana] When I first came across Jamilla Okubo’s work, I felt an instant joy. Bright, colourful and bold with the use of African prints, her pieces offer both a celebration and a reclamation of black bodies. Today Jamilla tells us more about what inspires her and the stories she wants to tell through her prints and illustrations. 

1.Tell us a little about your work?

I really enjoy working with an array of mediums such as painting, digital/hand-painted prints, garments, and collaging. Color is definitely a key element in my work as well as prints. My work mainly focuses on subjects of the Diaspora because I just love the beauty within our culture and people. I just feel as though it is my duty to remind people of color that we have such a rich culture, and that we should love ourselves and one another. So I strive for my work to have a balance of conceptuality and beauty. These are two quotes that I live by when it comes to creating artwork:

“The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If i love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”- James Baldwin

“The black artist is dangerous. Black art controls the “Negro’s” reality, negates negative influences, and creates positive images.”- Sonia Sanchez

2. What inspires you and what is your process?

I am heavily inspired by my background culture and experiences in life. My work is heavily fired by my emotions as well. Whether I am passionate or really angry about something, I use those feelings as an advantage to create from the heart and express myself. I am also inspired by other cultures. Being able to interact with people from all over the world and experience other cultures is a blessing.

Depending on the project that I am working on, I may gather inspiration photos from the internet or books, and create a moodboard (it’s a habit that I got from school, specifically fashion). Majority of the time I will randomly get inspired, whether it is from a movie or an incident that I saw on the news, I immediately start creating. I have a very odd way of working because, a lot of people always tell me “you work so much”, “you’re always creating something”, or “how do you have so much time to create?” Honestly I don’t!. When an idea sparks I immediately stop whatever I am doing and create what I envisioned at that moment.

3. Textile prints seem to play a key part in your prints and illustrations. What does this mean to you and is it telling of your own journey?

While attending Duke Ellington School of the Arts I was to create a 15-painting themed series for my senior year. As I found myself searching for inspiration I came across Africa Fashion Week NY for the first time. The textiles, beautiful african models, and vibrant expression of a culture I had been long disconnected from - struck a chord in me. From this I began my wandering - an earnest exploration of my history and ancestors. Blessed by a teacher by the name of Stanley Squirewell, seeing the fire in me as a young person, introduced me to a host of artists that continue to inspire me today: Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Wangenchi Mutu, Hank Willis Thomas, etc. I played with how to take these narratives of blackness and interpret them through my work, my craft.

4. As a designer, what does the body mean to you?

As a designer, the body is an external way to express oneself. Also, being able to interpret and express your inner self through clothing and accessories is a wonderful thing. It gives all people the opportunity to treat their body as a canvas and not have to worry about others perceptions or opinions. The body provides a landscape on which my aesthetic inevitable conclusions come to life.

5. What can we look out for in 2014?

Well hopefully if all goes as planned, I am working on having my second solo art show in June. But as of now I am focusing on school, so you will of course see what I am working on throughout the semester. I always find a way to link my school projects with my own work. I cannot speak of all that I am planning on doing because I don’t want to jinx myself. Just know that I am always working on something!

Aspiring Textile designer, Jamilla Okubo, is an 20-year old African-American/Kenyan native from Washington, D.C. She is currently studying Integrated Fashion Design at Parsons the New School for Design. Jamilla’s prints invoke a life and sophistication in them. Constantly utilizing the vibrancies of African textiles to her advantage with color ways that would put a smile to both the viewer and wearer. Where her work gains depth lays in the subject matter of the prints. The prints, fun as they may be, acknowledge a deeper struggle which is rooted in black culture. She acknowledges the history, but similar to an upbeat song about heartbreak decides to shine a different light on the situation by claiming the story back for herself.

Follow her on: 
Blog: www.vivaillajams.tumblr.com 
Portfolio Site: www.jamillaokubo.com 
Shop: www.society6.com/jamillaokubo

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THE BODY NARRATIVES: A DIFFERENT MIRROR

The female body has been defined, translated and documented for centuries by a gaze other than our own. As we delve into different cultural and religious layers of our identity, the issue of ‘body ownership’ becomes more complex, and its easy to feel that as women of colour, we are losing the power and voice to express what our bodies mean to us.   

So…when we met up with photographer Sanaa Hamid last week, we were excited to hear about the new journey that the ladies behind The Body Narratives are planning! 

From documenting WoC concerns on their blog, the The Body Narratives team is now working towards holding workshops, educational events and their first exhibition to encourage a dialogue about body issues that inevitably affect us all as a community of women. 

‘A Different Mirror’ is a three-day art exhibition by 9 artists in Brixton, London. Socially constructed ideas about race, gender and culture remain key in how Women of Colour perceive themselves. The exhibition will use art as the basis to capture and explore body image and perception, examining the effects of body image on who we are.

Supporting their kick-starter doesn’t only mean you’ll be funding their project, but also means that you’ve made an active step in helping to bring about body positivity.

Donate here, and make sure you don’t miss their first fundraising event (Seet and I are gutted we can’t make it!) if you’re around Brixton next Tuesday. 

- A x

 

The history of a medical instrument reveals the dubious science of racial difference.

“This is a problem not just with lung capacity measurements but with health inequality more generally. There’s vastly, vastly, vastly more research on genomics than on the social determinants of health. Part of the problem is the infrastructure of science. What kinds of questions are considered scientific?”

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‘A Different Mirror’ is a three-day multidisciplinary art exhibition by 9 Women of Colour artists in Brixton, London. Socially constructed ideas about race, gender and culture remain key in how Women of Colour perceive themselves.

The exhibition will use art as the basis to capture and explore body image and perception, examining the effects of body image on who we are. In addition to supporting Women of Colour artists we want to create a programme that relates to, engages with and celebrates the experiences of Women of Colour in London where these discussions are often limited. 

We want to use this platform as a safe space and creative medium to discuss body image, body positivity and healing by creating accessible educational activities. 

For more information go to http://thebodynarratives.com/exhibition

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One important summer’s day I came across Qahera, the badass Muslim woman superhero, and felt a little more than good. Witty, empowering and politically perfect, Deena’s Webcomic has crucially been well received. I wanted to know more about the inspiration behind the Hijabi superhero that takes on misogynistic Muslim men and white-saviour-complex feminists.

Q. Who is Qahera and why is she important?

At this stage of her development, Qahera is a female, visibly Muslim superhero. She’s important (to me, I suppose) because I feel like there is a need for female Muslim superheroes who actually deal with the real-life issues we face instead of fictional supervillains (because let’s face it, half of the things Muslim women have to deal with feel like they’ve been concocted by supervillains.) But yeah, there’s a need for her. Both in comics and in real life.

Q. What does it mean for her to be a superhero?

I feel like it means she doesn’t have to be afraid. She can face the challenges all Muslim women face head-on and obliterate them. Superheroes have this remarkable ability of standing out in a crowd and getting their voices heard (admittedly, usually because they’re wearing skintight lycra and a cape) and I guess that’s what I want Qahera to do.

On an audience-receptive level, her being a superhero also means she can break past the barriers of constant arguing and the words we use over and over again, like “privilege” and “patriarchy” and “intersectional feminism” and just visually slap you with the reality of the words in simple, simple terms. People understand superheroes. Nothing is clearer than angry words in a speech bubble coming from a lady holding a sword.

Unfortunately this also has its drawbacks because angry words in a speech-bubble cannot fully describe or explain the intricacies behind the challenges we face. It can also lead to infantilising or over-simplifying an issue (particularly to those unfamiliar with them), but I guess that’s my own personal challenge to work on.

Q. How do you feel she challenges the stereotypes and tropes Muslim women face, particularly as they (and their bodies) are often spoken for, spoken at, and spoken against?

I guess she mostly challenges them just by existing. Even though there are already two veiled superheroes in the comic book world (Dust, Excalibur), the majority of the comments I’ve received have been “what a great concept!”

People are surprised by the idea of a Muslim woman as a superhero. Superheroes are Western concepts, even though every child in the world probably knows Superman. The idea that a Muslim woman would be a part of that (especially a Middle-Eastern based one, as Qahera is) is sort of different to them in itself. Apart from that I think she challenges the stereotypes head-on. Her entire existence is bent on being outspoken, independent and fierce.

The worst and most common stereotype Muslim women face is that of being helpless and controlled, lacking autonomy. A superhero is the opposite of that. Qahera is the opposite of that.

Q. Where did the concept come from for the comic?

My frustration with the world. Qahera came about because she was basically everything I longed to be. Additionally, I see so many strong and powerful women who constantly fight and strive for freedom, both politically and socially, and I feel like some of them are already superheroes. The two ideas - that I’d like superpowers, that women are superheroes - sort of collided into Qahera.

Q. Where can we get more of this badass superhero?

Ahhh my blog probably! I’ve received an incredible response, which makes me think I should probably make a separate place to post Qahera’s adventures, but until then she’s at Blog Like An Egyptian 

Deena is an Egyptian university student majoring in graphic design. She also works as a freelance illustrator. She currently resides in Egypt where she watches too many television shows. She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

‘Black British Feminism: Past, Present and Futures’ is a one-day conference on 14 March 2015 in Brixton in collaboration with the Black Cultural Archives and Chardine Taylor-Stone. It attempts to trace black feminist journeys and legacies into the present. Centred on intergenerational dialogue, the interactive programme encourages reflection, celebration and a return to an activist-centred movement.

Please note that the BCA part of the programme has a ticket fee of £15. Booking early is advisable as tickets are not guaranteed on the door. All events hosted at the Karibu Education Centre are free but you must register your place for both the Wisdom Circles and the evening discussion to confirm your place.

Black Cultural Archives: 12pm – 3:30pm Tickets £15: Book with the BCA!

The Cinema of Collective Black Resistance

A series of films throughout the day mapping the history and context of Black political struggle in Britain. These films give us an insight into the world from which a radical and active period of Black British Feminism developed and raises questions on how some of the issues touched upon in that era have developed our ideas of what it means to be Black and actively resist forms of oppression today.

Black British Feminism in the archives workshop

The Black Cultural Archive will be displaying ephemera from the OWAAD movement and other black feminist actions in the Learning Centre throughout the day.

Black British Feminist activists in Brixton walk

Kelly Foster will take visitors on a black feminist activist tour around Brixton, exploring the landmarks that are entrenched in collective histories of black resistance. At a time where Brixton is rapidly changing, this walk encourages visitors to think about race, space and place.

Karibu Education Centre: 4pm – 12am Free: Register your place here now!

4pm: Wisdom Circles: Black British Activism Past and Present

Breaking out of the traditional workshop format, five wisdom circles will take place around the room facilitated by cross-generational black feminist activists. Each circle will facilitate a dialogue on a different topic, encouraging participants to listen and contribute to a crosspollination of ideas in a fluid and safe space. Wisdom Circles are an ancient way in which indigenous peoples came together in sacred circles to learn from each other how to survive, hope and dream.

Topics: Grassroots organising, queer activism, violence against women, mental health, challenging anti-blackness in non-black People of Colour communities and wellness and healing in transformatory work.

Please note that the wisdom circles are only open to Women/QTI of Colour. Participants will choose three circles to participate in based on the topics above. You will be contacted once you have registered as to your preferences. Each circle will be capped at 10 people. Register now.

6pm: Moving Forward: A Collective Conversation on the Future of Black British Feminism

An open floor discussion on how the current wave of Black Feminism is defining its voice, its ideals and activism today. A panel will be present but incorporating a “Question Time” style format we strongly encourage discussion amongst all on the floor and on social media.

Chair: Nydia Swaby

Panelists: Liz Obi, Chardine Taylor-Stone, Ikamara Larasi and Dr Joan Anim-Addo (other panelists tbc).

Drinks, Music and Chatter: Dj’s from 10pm.

It’s time for The Body Narratives to give you guys a heads up on exciting events coming up. This is one we can’t wait to attend and hope that some of you Londoners will be joining us! 

Led by a collective of four African Diaspora women artists, Janine Francois (Creative Producer/Director), Stella Odunlami (Curator), Zainab Adamu (Photographer/Filmmaker) and Belinda Zhawi (Writer and Griot), Re-introducing Oshun is an interdisciplinary exhibition that re-imagines black women’s bodies as sacred places of beauty, intimacy, and love through the Yoruba deity, Oshun. 

Janine Francois tells us a little more about the project:

“The exhibition is inspired by Oshun and  her "responsibilities” in the physical and metaphysical worlds which are,  diplomacy, love, beauty, seduction and sexuality. She is also associated with rivers and is akin to honey, hues of gold, peacock feathers, perfumes and seductive movements, all of whom are featured in the exhibition. We wanted our audience to emerge themselves in to another time, space and reality where black women’s bodies are worshiped as the beacon of beauty, as Oshun is. It is in this capacity we are re-introducing Oshun by connecting her powers to the beauty of black women’s bodies. 

I had the idea of wanting to produce an exhibition tackling the topic of black women’s bodies, I am very much influenced by Foucault and his notion of “biopolitics.”  I am also a Producer and not practising artist, so I went straight to my friends and other artists whom I have had the pleasure to work with and pitch the idea to them. Thankfully, they said yes. A big part of this was wanting to create an all female and all black collective and being quite unapologetic about it too. Thus, providing and facilitating a creative space where our disciplines could work together to produce aesthetically beautiful pieces of art loaded with meaning.”

’Re-Introducing Oshun,’  will be open from 10 - 17 October 2013 at Shinobare Studios.  Hosted by Guest Projects Africa and funded by the Arts Council, it culminates in an evening of live performances at the Lyric Hammersmith. Don’t miss out!

I’m not interested in people agreeing with me about beauty. I just want people to find a narrative about bodies that helps them see themselves. It might be the opposite of what I see. I don’t care, rather, I am not offended and I don’t take it personally. I want people to survive and live and thrive. Not on my terms. On their own. I hope you find that root. I hope you grow very large and majestic in the space and story you take up. I want us to be proud of our stories. Like we matter. We do.

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[Hana] Meryem Meg’s work resonated with me the moment I saw it.  Representations of the Middle East, Muslim world and even the South Asian Subcontinent, still to this day remain held by the Colonial Orientalist gaze that attempted to fix them centuries ago. Meryem speaks to us more about how she attempts to subvert the gaze and resist through a different type of power in looking. 

Ways of seeing was a project I undertook to allow myself to visually and theoretically explore and communicate the ways in which body language was used to objectify the Woman through colonial Orientalist Painting. Looking at visual ways of hiding and revealing through mark making.

I use creativity as a tool to outline and direct or redirect the gaze, offering a different outlook or visual commentary on some of the most defining works, which sprung in 18-19th C Europe. It is important for me to combat and try to portray a much more justified and realistic representation of the ‘oriental woman’ through my own reality.

I want to bring light and also celebrate the complexity and many different facets of the oriental woman; challenging stereotypes, which were formed through Orientalism and Orientalist painters, continuing to carry these representations through popular culture. I want to underline the reality that is hidden, and contribute to demolishing all idea’s that the oriental women is nothing more than a passive, exotic object of desire, a salve to the avidity of men and unable to have any form of intellectual integrity.

Learning from this I hope to expand the project which started as a personal expression I felt I needed to get out of my system, to a much more community orientated project. I love a statement made by Junot Diaz which goes to say, “ You know how vampires have no reflection in the mirror? If you want to make a human being a monster, Deny them at a cultural level, any reflection of themselves.”

It is extremely crucial to have the ability to represent and communicate self. As a Woman of Muslim African / European background I feel like my work should strive towards that and facilitate a space of debate and deliberation. Whether it addresses the emancipation of the woman within her own “community”, or through a western white dominated lens.

Meryem is a 23 year old Algerian, Bulgarian visual artist based in London. Raised between France and the UK. Her inspiration stems from a love for all ethnical art merged with her urban reality, combining through a passion for print making, bespoke typography and a strategic use of vivid colour combinations.

Graduated with a BA in Graphic design from LCA and most recently with an MA from the University of Arts London. Her passion for race / gender and identity have continually surfaced within her design and artistic practice. Continually striving to celebrate the woman through her art.

You can follow her on Tumblr, buy from her online store, and catch her on Twitter.

this little cutie is Sonia, a nine year old from a village in Punjab. A few years back my mum’s sister found her, her two baby brothers and mother sleeping in the streets near where she lives. my aunt (a doctor whose practice is entirely focused on treating poor folk and in particular women/children, with a lot of activism centred on womens/childrens rights) took them temporarily in and kept them for a little while. Sonia’s father had kicked them out after marrying another woman, her mother having nothing came to Karachi to try and stay with her brother. He too left them on the streets which is not uncommon if you know a Karachi - a city difficult extreme inequality, where women often bare the brunt of poverty and violence. Whilst my aunt couldn’t keep them all permanently she offered to take care of Sonia. A few months in Sonia’s father reappeared on the scene and forced them all back to the village where he gave Sonia to his grandmother and was made to hard labour in the fields with the donkeys and to look after her brothers all the while. She was forced to sleep outside. She made her way back to Karachi eventually and came back to my aunts. Not a day goes by she isn’t laughing, smiling, and is so bright with so much personality. It never ceases to amaze me how such a young girl can be not only so resilient but filled with so much joy, gladness and playfulness despite the strife and cruelty she has faced. Truly humbling and inspiring.

I grow to inhabit the lightness that haunts me like a ghost. It’s an easy identity to wear. The tiny Asian girl, floating through a world that already tells its women: “Be less of you, be smaller.” It is so simple, so seductive. Eventually, it becomes me. For the longest time, my weight hovers below a hundred pounds. The number becomes my benchmark, my sea level. As long as I stay below it, I’m still me. But it’s dangerous to build an identity based on being nothing; it’s dangerous to think of yourself as weightless.
—  i wrote about my struggles with disordered eating and body image for the body narratives. it’s something that i’ve touched on here before, but this is the first time i’ve really written about it in a larger sense; i’m happy it’s published, but it’s also been a little bit scary to have it in the open. always learning; always growing. thank you for reading.
Dysphoria/Dissonance vs. Internalized Cissexism? Or Maybe It's Not So Simple, Jackass

The trans community is awash with narrative pushing.

White supremacy pushing the stereotypical white transgender experience as the norm. Classism pushing the transitioning = paying out the ass for medical adjustments narrative. Ableism pushing the “trans doesn’t equal crazy and god forbid you are crazy cuz here is a bus enjoy the wheels” bullshit. Fatphobia pushing the androgyny or femininity or masculinity or every other expression = thin crap. Etcetera.

When it comes to taking the experiences of a tiny privileged few or a giant pile of transfundamentalist bullshit and superimposing it on every form of gender variance under and over the sun, the trans community has a disturbing amount of talent.

And have no doubt, the blame rests in the end on all of those isms mentioned above and also cissexism cuz cis people taught us how to fuck ourselves over well by doing it to us always. But it’s still happening.

And no more heavily than with this latest crap I’ve seen all over tumblr (although it’s certainly been around way longer) on dysphoria and dissonance.

Dysphoria and Dissonance being defined purely and completely as “hating your body” because of its format, a format that is not cis (in many cases because it isn’t cis, because of a mismatch). 

It’s not an invalid narrative. There are tons of trans people who absolutely have that exact form of dissonance. Who require methods to cope with their body not matching their mind or even surgical and hormonal intervention. Valid and not to be shat on.

The problem shows up when that narrative, the body structures being wrong for one’s self concept (often paired with the idea that this is a biological or neurological issue), is applied as the end all be all litmus test for transness. 

Here’s a strong kick to the face reality check. Dissonance and Dysphoria actually come in tons and tons of forms. And for tons and tons of reasons.

For instance, there is social dysphoria. There are people who hurt more from dissonance between social elements and their self concept. Gasp. I know. Shocking.

If you need to faint, I brought a victorian couch for you to fall on.

Furthermore, even within that narrative there are people who don’t need a whit of actual surgery or even hormones. And who didn’t get that dissonance from neurological things (and there’s also the ridiculous heavy problems with the brain sex idea, that fucks around with Intersex folks’ territory hard).

This narrative being pushed isn’t doing any of us any favors. It’s not just leading to policing, it’s leading to a very brutal in for internalized cissexism and cisfuckery to attack our body images even harder than normal.

I cannot express how hard I’ve been struggling lately with whether my self directed penis hate is dissonance (and believe me I do have bodily dissonance, much of which was solved by what the hormones did, but my transness is way more complex than that) or if it’s internalized cissexism, this idea that a woman can’t have a penis.

And what if it’s something else? What if its a mixture? What if this narrative being pushed convinced me I have to hate my penis to be trans and so I subconsciously did the damage to myself?

This narrative doesn’t just lead to policing, denial of resources and fucking over other trans folks (and guaranteed fucking over of genderesscent folks due to all the racism my people bring to gender in general) it leads to doing serious damage to self concept and self actualization all throughout gender variant and gender existent non cis individuals all over.

It leads to doubts that disrupt the way we figure out what we need and take the steps to get it. It muddies the waters that needed no further damn muddying with a cissexist (not to mention all the other axes that come into play) world fucking with our minds at every step.

It leads to self hatred. It leads to bad decisions that make things worse. It leads to people not believing they’re trans or genderesscent or gender existent (as the case may be) at all and suffering without even knowing why. It leads to people who have accepted their gender existent status but don’t fit the narrative hiding from the community and not gaining access to resources and support or being open and being denied those resources directly.

It leads to deaths. 

It leads to suicides.

This shit kills people. Our people.

The worst part, all it would take is comprehending nuance. Learning that things are complicated and can’t be summed up in a single narrative. Unlearning fucked up bigoted bullshit that fuels this pushing. Not hard things. Not too much to ask at all when people’s lives and well being are at stake.

Not too much at all.

****SIGNAL BOOST TO ALL MY UK LOVERS AND FRIENDS****

I usually don’t do this kind of standing on a soap box shove down your throat advertisement but, my love and queer black muslim feminist, Hana Riaz (inbetweenlove.tumblr.com) has arranged a fundraiser and private screening of the critically acclaimed documentary ‘The Black Power’ mixtape in support of her organization ’The Body Narratives.’ A very important organization dedicated to projecting the voices of WOC taking agency of their own bodies/beings. 

[The Body Narratives is] an attempt to curate and document all the ways in which as Women of Colour we navigate, understand and own the embodiment of our narratives and experiences. At the heart of this journey, we seek to uncover how our bodies belong to ourselves.

This is very important/revolutionary work if you can’t already recognize so support is key! If you’re in the area and want to mix and be in the presence of other amazing WOC I definitely recommend your attendance. 

Please reblog, like and tell all your friends!

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Art has always offered the opportunity to not only be honest and bold in order to make sense of the world around us, it has always nurtured a fundamental space to challenge and resist it. 

Jay Katelansky, the beautiful soul that created what has now come to be our banner, remains a woman who pushes through her art. In the bid to shift and navigate race, gender and sexuality in America, her work can often render audiences uncomfortable, forcing them to critically think about blackness, representation and the body in a white supremacist capitalist patriarchal society.

I was privileged enough to see her phenomenal BFA Thesis the need to ADORN  when i was in Philadelphia earlier this year and was moved by the necessity of her work. The Body Narratives looks forward to watching her closely and supporting her journey in continuing the dialogue and discourse through her art. 

Jay Katelansky is currently an MFA candidate at The University of Wisconsin Madison. She received her BFA from Moore College of Art and Design.

Her work has been exhibited in the Goldie Paley Gallery in 2012 and 2011, Society Hill gallery in 2012, Moore College of Art’s student show in both 2011 and 2012, and “We Make Art Part 2”, a group show of emerging artists. The summer of 2012 she completed an internship with Shani Peters a video, collage, printmaking, and social practice public artist and was the assistant to San Francisco based illustrator Hannah Stouffer in her solo show at Kinfolk Studios.  

You can follow her Tumblr Shifting Self.

Call for submissions: The Body Narratives

dearly beloveds,

currently on the hunt for more submissions/contributions for the The Body Narratives. looking more specifically for the following:

  • narratives on physical, sexual, emotional violence 
  • trans inclusive experiences 
  • re-imagining the body - what does freedom look like? what if we existed outside of these limits/social constructs/experiences - what would you imagine your body to be/do/stand for?
  • short video blogs about what your body means to you (up to 5 minutes long)
  • tips/ideas for what will be ‘self-care sundays’ (recipes, how-tos, book lists/recommendations, inspirations, things that make you feel good/improve your wellbeing, playlists, love notes etc)

if you are interested get in contact: thebodynarratives@gmail.com 

all submissions should be emailed and accompanied by a short bio in third person with any social media links and images. written pieces must be no longer than 900 words.