meet the alternative art graduates transforming the normative art world

In May, collectives BBZ and sorryyoufeeluncomfortable called on submissions from queer womxn, trans and non-binary artists of black ancestry for their new art show. Meet the ten artists selected to appear in the BBZ BLK BK: Alternative Graduate Show.

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Jul 3 2018, 2:31pm

Left Rebekah Williams, right Sade Mica by Heather Glazzard

Art is about confronting norms, defying conventions and smashing stereotypes. It’s also often about pumping up the egos of a bunch of white men, in the process minimising and othering the work of those who identify as queer womxn, trans and non-binary artists of black ancestry. Which is why collectives BBZ and sorryyoufeeluncomfortable have teamed up to put on BBZ BLK BK: Alternative Graduate Show, to showcase work from the latter group of artists and give it the attention it deserves.

"We deserve to be recognised, celebrated, critiqued, mentored and loved up on in spaces free from stigmatisation, othering, and exoticisation on the basis of our blackness, sexuality, or gender identity,” they explain to i-D. “It is our experience that institutions can rarely provide this for us.”

Irvine Bartlett will be showing at the BBZ BLK BK: Alternative Graduate Show

Adamant to change this, BBZ and sorryyoufeeluncomfortable put out a call via i-D in May. They asked for submissions from recent graduates from a UK-based institution who identify as queer womxn, trans and non-binary artists of black ancestry, with ten applicants being selected to appear in the BBZ BLK BK: Alternative Graduate Show.

All submissions were combed over by the discerning eyes of esteemed judges, including artist Evan Ifekoya, dancer and artist Zinzi Minott, fine art photographer and queer visual activist Ajamu X, and artist, curator, educator and occasional DJ Barby Asante. Award-winning filmmaker Campbell X joined the judging process via Skype, because this is a modern art show of course.

Before we get to the winners, we must use that infuriatingly saccharine but nevertheless very true cliché that every submission was great. As BBZ and sorryyoufeeluncomfortable said, “The submissions we received were so wonderful and we only wish we had the resources to showcase them all.”

Shadi Atallah will be showing at the BBZ BLK BK: Alternative Graduate Show

So without further ado, the people who will be showing at the BZ BLK BK: Alternative Graduate Show, are: multidisciplinary artist Sade Mica, anonymous artist mayfly, artist and DJ Shenece Oretha, photographer Irvine Bartlett, poet and artist Christopher Kirubi, documentary photographer, visual and social activist Rebekah Williams, sculpturist and installation artist Tanoa Sasraku-Ansah, multidisciplinary artist Shadi Atallah, painter Sola Olulode and contemporary artist Georgia Lucas-Going.

Together, BBZ and sorryyoufeeluncomfortable want to create a UK network of Black queer women, trans and nonbinary artists who can support each other to survive, transform the art world and to feel celebrated. “In this sense, the BBZ BLK BK: Alternative Graduate Show 2018 is not the final product of our collaboration with each other and with the artists, but the beginning of something wonderful!"

The show will run July 18-22 at Copeland Gallery in Peckham. Mark your calendars.

Sola will be showing at BBZ BLK BK: Alternative Graduate Show