FLORA* Art Show Highlights QTPOC Artists

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Photo courtesy of Emily Butler.

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Queer, Transgender, and People of Color (QTPOC) UCSD hosted FLORA*, an art show showcasing QTPOC artists and musicians, at KSDT Radio Station on Saturday April 7. Over 26 talented student works were featured, with performances by Kohinoorgasm, Telarana, and PERMAFRIED, as well as a Black Magic Hollyhock solo set by Hailee Felder.

When envisioning the QTPOC community, the words forgiveness, love, open(ness), rejuvenation, and auras came to the minds of the UCSD QTPOC board members. This became the basis and inspiration for the FLORA* art show. QTPOC is a student organization that champions student activism and provides a safe space to “dialogue, educate, and socialize around LGBTQ identified people of color.”

Many exceptional art pieces were displayed at FLORA*, curated from a diverse group of people coming from different experiences and thus different perceptions, helping paint a vast puzzle representing an often-overlooked community.

Samar Saif, the event coordinator for FLORA*, saw the lack of space for QTPOC on our campus and expressed her desire to “centralize the voices of those [QTPOC] who are usually silenced or not included in other spaces.”

The energy and atmosphere was, “wonderful and affirming and people were supportive and respectful,” said Saif.

April Lin and Jasmine Lin in a depiction of the conversation of bodies in the internet age.

April Lin and Jasmine Lin in a depiction of the conversation of bodies in the internet age

Qigemu, a duo consisting of lovers April Lin and Jasmine Lin, showcased its film production, “reality fragment 160921.” It was a unique take on how life is constructed around people and their energies.

According to the description, the film “follows two people in their process of reality-curation, as they create their own spaces against and via understandings of distance, as they go through the motions of growing themselves by growing their universes.”

Kiana Alice, an 18-year-old artist, showcased her unique style of drawing human-like sentient beings. She described her art as largely fueled by her raw emotions, apparent in her use of vivid colors. Alice wanted to be involved in an event that gave QTPOC a platform and was honored when she was asked to be a part of it. “It’s something that’s really important to me, giving queer and transgender people of color a platform, the ability to express themselves and feel like they are in a safe space,” she said.

Patrick Kim’s sister shielded by the pink cloth of her mother

Patrick Kim’s sister shielded by the pink cloth of her mother

Patrick Kim also shared his passion for creating artwork at FLORA*. This passion soon expanded and flourished in the field of performance and video art at ArtCenter College of Design. In his series, “The Dancer,” Kim sought to represent his past struggles against the social anxiety that caused him to find shelter behind his mother.

Karen, a third year Critical Gender Studies major, redrew one of their old artworks to see the growth that has transpired since the first piece. The first design was created during their first year of college, when they were just beginning to discover themselves. They took comfort in art, and their conflicting identity became apparent on the page, creating a “drawing full of pain, resilience, strength, and confusion.”

But now, a year later, Karen’s interpretation of the same drawing has evolved. Instead of conflicting identities, Karen has discovered a newfound love for the pieces that make up their identity. “Where there used to be pain and confusion, there was now acceptance and empowerment,” Karen stated.

“Crecimiento del Alma," a painting by Karen

“Crecimiento del Alma,” a painting by Karen

Saif hoped to produce a sense of community amongst the artists involved. By holding this event, which has been a long time aspiration, Saif sought to acknowledge people with intersecting identities and marginalized voices to create a space of recognition.

Saif noted that the art show went better than expected, with anywhere from 40–60 people in the space at any given time. She believed that the show was important because it showcased works of QTPOC artists of differing identites and intends to uplift these voices even more moving forward.

“I hope for the show to centralize the voices marginalized even within the QTPOC community,” emphasized Saif. “I want to see the work of QTPOC sex workers, disabled folks, and transgender artists brought to the forefront.”

Saif hopes to continue holding at least one art show a year, as she feels that FLORA* was a beautiful space that the UC San Diego campus needed.

Mandy is a Staff Writer for the Arts and Culture section as well as the Social Media Editor.