Quoting Ourselves; a queer archive

Quoting Ourselves

Indira Allegra, Sam Berliner, Allan D Avila-Espina, Rob Fatal, Meehaun Glasper-Wade, Jamil Hellu, Nia King, Bo Luengsuraswat, Jex Nguyen , and Loren Schmidt.

A Group Exhibition Curated by Karly Stark

Exhibition: February 26-March 18, 2015.

Opening Reception: 5pm-8pm, Thursday, February 26, 2015.

Reading & Lecture
Nia King: ‘Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of our Lives
MARCH 18th at 5pm to 6.30pm, at The Art Gallery

    Quoting Ourselves was born from a passion project researching and interrogating the historical representations of lesbian women in interwar Paris, a project that quite intensely fueled my radical distaste for history production and “the archive.” As the research I was able to gather made blatantly clear, history, which is both patriarchal and kyriarchal, renders visible those population that are privileged, namely white, male, cisgender, and heterosexual, while rendering invisible all those that fall outside this model. What I found in this specific case was historical representation of a canon of lesbians that were distinctly white, bourgeois, and socialite. These voices created a chorus that continually spoke for the lesbian community during this era, producing a singular “lesbianism” that contributed to the elimination of the plethora “lesbianisms” that existed. Many questions arose. What does it mean to document the lived experiences of queer peoples? Does the queer historical archive as it stands reproduce and/or contribute to the kyriarchial system that it seeks to deconstruct? While archives of queer experience may provide powerful opportunities to critically address systems of oppression and the interlocking mechanisms of the “personal” and “political,” what does it mean for others to be writing that history? Who is included, and who is silenced? As a response, Quoting Ourselves comprises a queer archive and community space in which artists critically engage with their own histories and mythologies in order to deconstruct “queer history” and attempt to create a new future whereby queer histories are created by queers themselves. Focusing intensely on those populations that are often left out of the LGBT archive, namely queer and trans people of color, this collection of self portraiture, subjective film essays, poetry, interactive video games, radical zines, and diary photography works to fill the holes created by the kyriarchal process of history production, focusing on the notions of visibility and invisibility. What is possible when we quote ourselves?

– Karly Stark

Indira Allegra

Indira Allegra is the winner of the Jackson Literary Award, recipient of the Oakland Individual Artist grant and a former Lambda Literary Fellow; she has been interviewed by BBC Radio 4, make/shift magazine and artactivistnia.com. Allegra has forthcoming work in Red Indian Road Westand Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices. She has contributed works to HYSTERIA Magazine, Writing Home: Award-Winning Literature from the New West, Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art and Thought and Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two Spirit Literature among others.


Allegra’s short films have screened at festivals such as MIX NYC, Perlen Hannover LGBT Festival, Outfest Fusion and Bologna Lesbian Film Festival. She has been actively involved in guest residencies and lectures at the University of Oregon, East Carolina University and The Banff Centre in Canada. In the Bay Area, her group exhibitions include SOMArts, Oliver Art Center and Alter Space galleries.

Sam Berliner

Sam is a Bay Area-based filmmaker and animator best known for his engaging and accessible films about gender non-conformity. His award-winning short films, Dating Sucks: A Genderqueer Misadventure, Genderbusters and Perception have screened at over 100 film festivals around the world and are distributed by CFMDC and Frameline Voices. When not actively making films, Sam is the festival director of Translations: the Seattle Transgender Film Festival. He also leads workshops and gives presentations about gender at various organizations and schools. Sam graduated in 2005 from Smith College with a BA in Film & Theatre and earned an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University in 2013.

Allan D Avila-Espina

Allan Avila is an abstract artist who has worked on over 75 paintings on canvas (oil, acrylic, water, multiple-media). Allan has also wrote over 100 poems. He usually mixes poetry and painting together to create a new form of artistic expression. Allan is currently attending San Francisco State University and he is pursuing a Master’s in Sexuality Studies. Allan immigrated to the United States when he was 14 years old, and he identifies as queer. He is interested in pursuing an academic career, where he hopes to incorporate art and concepts of intersectionality.

Rob Fatal

Rob Fatal is an Oakland, California-based media artist, filmmaker and media scholar whose work investigates the concepts of narrative, genre, and cinema tropes as they pertain to identity construction and human communication. While he does carry out his cultural and personal investigations through photography, performance and writing, video is his primary medium. Fatal‘s video works often blur genre boundaries of traditional Hollywood films in an experimental way in order to better understand and investigate the collaged, complex and mixed characters that inhabit these grey worlds.  Fatal‘s latest film,Mi Familia 2: Class Order Family Tribe [2015] is an unauthorized spiritual sequel / parody of the 1995 Chicano dramatic film, Mi Familia, directed by Gregory Nava. Fatal‘s Mi Familia 2 seeks to disrupt and investigate the traditional boundaries and narratives of horror, comedy and documentary films as well as the concept of Latino-ness, queer-ness and Native American-ess as both film genres and personal identities.
Fatal‘s work has been exhibited at galleries and festivals including the San Francisco Underground Short Film Festival, Leeds International Independent Film Festival, SOMArts [San Francisco], The Bakersfield Museum of Art, The Center for Contemporary Arts Tel Aviv, Mix NYC video festival, Wattis Institute of Contemporary Art, the Fab Lab [Berlin],  African American Art Complex, National Queer Arts Week and the Galeria de la Raza [San Francisco].

Meehaun Glasper-Wade

As an artist I aim to develop paintings that mirror my experience as a Black transgender man. Everyday I learn more and am growing into the person I knew I should be. It is the greatest gift to record such huge milestones in my life through my art. In order to see that change happening I reflect on past works. Being primarily a portrait artist, I strive to convey emotion in my work. I want the audience to look at my paintings and not only see, but also have an emotional.

Jamil Hellu

Born in Brazil, Jamil Hellu earned his MFA in art practice from Stanford University in 2010 and was granted a BFA degree in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2003. He was selected for the Artist-in-Residence Program at Recology San Francisco in 2014. Hellu received the MFA Graduate  Fellowship Award at Headlands Center for the Arts for 2010–2011. He was also granted a six-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2008. He lives in San Francisco.

Nia King

Nia King is the author of Queer and Trans Artists of Color. She is also the host and producer of We Want the Airwaves podcast. Her writing about race, gender, and sexuality has been published in the journal Women and Performance, the book Zines in Third Space, and the magazine make/shift. Her comics have been featured in Colorlines, Interrupt Mag, and in the Laydrawers exhibition “Sex. Money. Race. Gender.” Her film, the Craigslist Chronicles, has screened at the National Queer Arts Festival, Queer Women of Color Festival, York University, York University, University of Toronto, and NYU. In the fall of 2013, Nia toured the US wit the POC Project Race Riot Tour as a performance. In spring of 2014, Nia toured the US and Canada with Mangos and Chili as their official tour documentarian.

Bo Luengsuraswat

Bo Luengsuraswat is an interdisciplinary artist whose cultural intervention ranges from experimental filmmaking to writing to culinary business. Currently, he is penning a graphic memoir about QTPOC drama that addresses the traumas of immigration enforcement, trans embodiment, and non-profit-sanctioned community violence.

Jex Nguyen

Hi, my name is Jex. I am a gender-neutral, Filipino and Vietnamese American from Sacramento, CA. Currently, I am a third year student and majoring in Visual Communication Design. Growing up, the artist spirit within me has been consistently animated and kindled by the flames of hope, love, and strength. Through musical instruments, painting, drawing, ceramics, photography and multimedia, I am fueled to create, converse, and connect with others about new ideas and expression of thoughts. Open to any medium, art is my channel and passion

when words fall short.

I am a sensitive artist. My sensitivity has always been my downfall; however, I am also grateful to be capable of experiencing the simplest beauties and wonders of the world at a high volume. As a result, what I produce is an attempt to best reflect my subsequent emotions. I hope to engage with others on a deep level and share my best.

Loren Schmidt

My name is Loren Schmidt. I’m a game design enthusiast and visual artist living in Berkeley, California.

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