Portraits by Queer Artists of Color to Nourish Your Soul

We lay in a bed of queen anne’s lace and I offer you twenty tons of honeysuckle clover, 2013. Photo: Naima Green

Lately, we’ve been drowning in upsetting images of police violence. If you’re looking for a moment of respite, a new photography show called Mien is uplifting individual queer black and brown voices to highlight the joy and beauty in those identities.

Curated by Tariq Dixon, the co-founder of home-furnishings studio Trnk, the show benefits the Ali Forney Center to combat LGBTQ+ youth homelessness in New York City. And it’s personal, exploring intersecting identities as both a queer person and a BIPOC. “We’re being inundated through the news and through media with depictions of our bodies and spirits and lives just constantly under siege and attack — things that we’re aware of as queer people and as people of color,” says Dixon. “What these artists offer in this moment is nourishment of spirit and soul, and a reminder to celebrate our own power and our own strength. We need that strength in order to keep fighting.”

The exhibition gives queer people of color an amplified voice, but it refuses to treat them as one homogenous LGBTQ+ block or participate in the exotification of black and brown bodies. Instead, the artists take ownership of their stories, speaking on their lived experiences as individuals and as members of a wider community. The exhibition features nine photos from seven queer artists of color, including Naima Green, Nelson Morales, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., Guanyu Xu, Dorian Ulises López Macías, Simone Thompson, and Texas Isaiah.

Among the artists, Naima Green has photographed over a hundred people for “Jewels From the Hinterland,” a project that reimagines black artists and artists of the diaspora in urban centers where the privileged landscape is lush and growing. “These photographs create an alternative present by reclaiming urban green spaces as places of tenderness, beauty, and play for people of the African diaspora,” Green told the Cut. “I use these photographs as a way to assert and insert our presence in these tranquil landscapes, to interrupt the predominant narratives about people of color surrounded by urban decay.”

You can purchase the limited-edition, 20-inch-by-30-inch images at $75 for an unframed print and $250 for a framed one. One hundred percent of the proceeds donated to the Ali Forney Center helps to provide meals at its 24-hour drop-in center, medical and mental-health services at its on-site clinic, and housing through its scattered-site program.

Below are all the works that are available to purchase here.

Breath tucks in and weighs the eyes closed. Beyond that callused layer lies a circular gradient of white, into yellow, into burnt orange and red. A euphoric entrance into day, and yet space becomes obscure and distant in the dark. Suddenly, in the aftermath of that quiet to-do of colors, my body is that only thing I know to be here. “Take your time,” you whisper. Photo: Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.
Ticunas. Photo: Nelson Morales
Alpha Male. Photo: Guanyu Xu
Schentell. Photo: Simone Thompson
De la calle / a la calle — Rafa Esparza’s performance for ICA LA. Photo: Dorian Ulises López Macías
Self Portrait in Red Skirt. Photo: Nelson Morales
San Cha, 2018. Photo: Texas Isaiah
Te Extraño. Photo: Dorian Ulises López Macías
Portraits by Queer Artists of Color to Nourish Your Soul