10 QUEER YEARS
Past becomes present when queer and transgender alum look back on the last decade, to celebrate Sacramento State PRIDE Center’s 10th birthday. Works by Peter Benson, Jamil Moises Liban-Ortañez, and Rob Fatal.
Exhibition Dates: April 24, 2017 - May 18, 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 27, 6 pm - 8 pm
As a Native American, Latinx and queer artist I have found community and culture to be my greatest artistic inspiration. To create with the collective minds of unique individuals is a practice that brings to me a great spiritual catharsis; a feeling of joy and power tied to the realization of what people working together can accomplish when in harmony: a home, a shared reality, justice, and healing. As such, my art practice is primarily tied to mediums that necessitate community participation: filmmaking, video art, performance, large-scale installations, and curating.
The looks of my work are as diverse the communities who create them, but most contain a sense of macabre, camp, surrealist sensibility: A feature length, all drag sequel to the 1984 Chicano classic La Bamba; A projection mapping video aimed at the floor displaying a shadow entombed in flowers and candles made as memory to our fallen trans and queer Latinx brothers and sisters who have been largely ignored by society; a marathon Dia de los Muertos dance party and VJ installation set to the music of all dead musicians complete with a pinata of N.W.A. rapper Eazy-E. As a result our creative collaborations are mutual investigations into the unknown depth of our cultures, identities, desires, fears, joys and communities.
Peter Benson curates the Pride Center’s collection of promotional posters and artwork he created as a student in CSU Sacramento's Art and Design Programs in 2010–2011.
The poster series’ visual simplicity belies the nuanced messaging encoded throughout. The first goal of the poster series was to capture student attention and convey the essential information quickly much like any billboard. It was very deliberate, however, that each poster also rewards viewers who chose to look deeper or who were drawn to them. The series overlays recognizable subject matter with symbols from both mainstream and Queer cultural lexicons; the combination of these images coupled with their loaded meanings are meant to prompt emotional, contextual, and tonal dichotomies:
“I considered my posters a success if they were steeped in both the optimism and antagonism towards our Queer movements, if the visuals are constantly in a battle between both the progress and the plight we find ourselves a part of.”
Peter hopes the series prompts an exploration into the ever-changing significance, effectiveness, and appropriateness of the iconography depicted within the posters in today’s quickly evolving Queer culture and seemingly devolving broader political and social realities.
Peter considers the series a part of his own activism and coming of age, crediting much of his self-actualization to the Center:
“As a closeted gay student, I quickly learned of the Pride Center’s value as a resource for empowering the marginalized and vulnerable. It was a big part of my own support system in becoming a happy, healthy and out individual. I strived to elevate Pride Center’s brand and lend greater visual dignity to the promotional experiences. The posters were my way of participating in the community, coming out, giving back and paying forward.”
Peter Benson is Senior Graphic Designer working in Tech in the San Francisco Bay Area, and lives happily with his fiancé, Hugo Ramirez and their dog, Che.
Jamil Moises worked at Sac State's Muti-Cultural, PRIDE and Women's Resource Centers from 2010–2015. Through the centers, he cultivated a critical consciousness to create art that sustains and celebrate the stories of his transgender, queer, brown, black immigrant, womyn, activist communities to "Get Free." His work is rooted in decolonizing history through storytelling.
Through the participatory installation "Roots in Resilience", Jamil Moises centers the journey of a friendship he formed at the PRIDE Center with his co-worker Genome. The installation highlights stories Genome and Jamil share about being brown Transmen living in California: coming out, transitioning, race, femininity/masculinity, the complexities of community, gender dysphoria, self-love, and gender liberation.
In this moment of rage, disappointment and uncertainty in our nation, Jamil asks participants: how can our stories, our lived experiences be pathways to healing, joy, laughter creativity and resilience? what connections have you made at the Pride Center that have shaped who you are now?