Rudy Loewe – Contributor 2016

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What does Women and Non-binary identities in black history month mean to you? How do you relate to this topic of discussion?

Centring my life with queer black women and non binary people is very important to me, in order to find folks with shared experiences. I’m always trying to attract the people into my life that can share this fire, this rage, and make it into something active, something useful. Like trying to find other witches to share a spiritual practice with, or black femmes sharing in emotional labour. Being in black only spaces/ qtpoc spaces/ non binary proc spaces is so important to me, to relax and feel reflected. Sometimes I don’t realise how much I have needed it until it happens.

Who are the women and non-binary activists/artists that inspire you and your work?

I love the writing and ideas of black women like Angela Davis, Assata Shakur and bell hooks. I feel like black women are often not given the place in history that they deserve. Women like Claudia Jones who were activists and critical thinkers.

I also look towards social media for voices like Ashleigh Shackelford and Che Gossett.

My sibling and dear friend Jacob V Joyce is always an inspiration to me for the work that they do as an artist and activist.

Groups that are led by black people, and often black women, such as Movement for Justice and the Black Women’s Rape Action project remind me to stay focused on the work I want to do and be in it for the long game. Media teaches people to be interested in singular issues for short periods of time and I appreciate these groups and movements that have longevity by staying focused on what they want to do.

There is a great wealth of black women and non binary artists to research and love: Ingrid Pollard, Lubaina Hamid, Sonia Boyce, Maud Sulter, Claudette Johnson, Ellen Gallagher, Carrie Mae Weems, to name a few.

It’s important to also remember that movements like Black Lives Matter was started in the U.S  by three black queer women.

What is your artwork about?

Fundamentally my work is about identity and the complex fragments of self located in bodily, psychological, archival and geographical memory. What this looks like in practice is several multimedia projects housed under the umbrella of my project title ‘Hashtag Identity’, which explores the tension between autobiographical experience and interdisciplinary practice. I focus on auto-ethnography, social class, queerness, gender-queerness, Afrofuturism and subversion. My work is unapologetically queer and autobiographical, and has thus far manifested itself in the form of video-works, multi-media performances, Ableton electronic music performance (with songwriting and live vocals), and collaborations. It is becoming more refined the more residencies I take part in, the more performances I deliver in queer spaces, the more conferences I discuss my work at such as ‘Queer Performance Now’ at King’s College London, and commissions from queer and QPOC initiatives. It is all in progress!