For the third instalment of the Pocc x Clear Channel artist-in-residence takeover, Pocc platformed six LGTBQIA+ artists and their artistic interpretation of the brief: What Marsha P. did for me.
This month’s curation was dedicated to celebrating the life of activist and drag queen Marsha P. Johnson who started the Stonewall riots and paved the way for the LGBTQIA+ community to live and love openly with Pride. The final artwork was amplified in outdoor media across the UK.
Spanning everything from photography and illustration to poetry and design, the artistic line-up includes:
Cherelle, Mental health activist, poet and creative writer –
‘Marsha P. is we’ “describes the depths of the hearts of the LGBTQIA+ community, remembering the long endless battles/marches/protests and solidarity that came with what Marsha P. Johnson did for not just herself but, so many millions of us – which she could never know how grateful we all are, in this time. I saw and watched endless videos I could find on the internet, as I wanted to grasp exactly how I thought I would feel if I was alive during the protests she attended and how she made her voice heard. I wanted whoever was reading this piece of poetry to feel the emotion that she dragged in her feet that day and the pain and the courage that continues today, in Black queers like myself; with pride being the main focus and the power of the push that made us all who we are.”
Liaqat Rasul, Artist –
Liaqat’s piece is a euphoric abstract collage celebrating the life of Marsha P. Johnson. “I started to think of Marsha’s strong and her tough character living in a diverse gay community in 60’s New York. I used different textures of paper to communicate Marsha toughness and vulnerability with thick hard cardboard, glued to delicate tissue paper. This frisson of heavy and light I feel creates strength in the piece while the punctured card resonates the aggression she faced standing up for LGBT rights. Cacophonic and euphonic in its appeal of depth in the collage. The two pink strings stitched and the yellow sandy bits of duller orange hues are interpreted in a number of ways in the collage, the work is both exotic, uplifting and inquisitive.”
Nahuel Contreras, Artist and Writer –
“My artwork references the expression “Giving People Their Flowers” to express gratitude and respect – honouring Marsha P. Johnson for her tremendous leadership during Stonewall, and keeping her legacy of activism for equity, justice, safety and access alive. Black trans women and Black queer people’s historic and radical stories, contributions and endeavours are often overlooked, erased and stolen from mainstream narratives and discussions, despite being integral to the rights and victories we have today. In addition to giving Marsha P. Johnson her flowers, I was also inspired by her iconic crowns of fresh flowers. Whilst the fight for universal equity continues, as a Black and queer artist, I wanted to amplify the beauty and nuances of Black queer identity that isn’t traditionally seen and represented; where we are free, loved, happy, celebrated and living proudly in our truths; reclaiming our narratives; tears of gratitude and joy.”
Rin Gurung, Nepalese designer and a storyteller –
“‘Home, where I belong’ is a piece made with my own experience of not being accepted in my family because of my sexuality. It is a piece of being indebted to your parents who left everything for your better future. It is a piece filled with guilt that shouldn’t be there in the first place. It is a piece redefining the term ‘home’. It is a piece to be authentically you. It is a piece to understand that home is not always a place you grow up in. It is a piece to heal and let go.”
Sarah Harris, Artist –
“I’ve illustrated a beautifully brave soul, who’s courage has helped myself and many others in the LGBTQIA+ community to live our true lives. Victoria Cruise likens Marsha to a flower and hopes that her seeds for change are spread far and wide. Her light shines on through us, the ones who can live without fear because of actions that she took. Often at its heart, activism is about a powerful love and I wanted that to come through in the illustration, as a thank you to Marsha P. Johnson.”
Zee, Community organiser, blogger, and poet –
“The more I learn about my own queerness through a de-colonial and spiritual lens, the closer I feel to Marsha P. Johnson’s life and story. As I mentioned in the poem, their work and spirit is very much present in all I do, feel and I know that I carry them with me. This poem represents how Marsha speaks to me and through me.
I have had many ups and downs yet every time I remind myself of Marsha’s strength it gives me a new breath of air to continue my fight for a gender free world.”
Brought to you by Pocc Studios.