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4 Queer Artists that make you Listen

4 Queer Artists that make you Listen

  1. Leilah Babirye. - sculptor 

Today, she can work from anywhere, creating forms “carved using traditional African techniques mixed with found objects including metal, plastic, and wood,” she said. A burned diary, she adds, reflects her own fears and desires about being out, while renderings of trans friends via paper or ceramics “represent some of the most vulnerable members of our community.” She's taken up activism, particularly as it relates to Uganda's 2021 presidential election, and she said, “How I live as an out lesbian in the fight for the rights of my community reverberates from New York, through social media, back to Uganda, and all over the world.”

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  1. Cheyne Gallarde. - illustrator 

“I love to transform queer people into the superheroes I see them as,” Cheyne Gallarde said, “powerful and dynamic but with a touch of whimsy and camp.” Aided by a background in offset printing, Gallarde uses “digital methods to achieve analog results,” and his vintage-style renderings of everyone from Marsha P. Johnson to the cast of "Pose" have become so popular, that MTV tapped him to make comic-book covers for all six Video of the Year nominees for this year's VMAs. 

  1. Max Colby - visual artist 

“A primary interest in the work is to reframe conversations on domesticity, power and gender through a queer and nonbinary lens,” said Colby, who's deeply interested in the histories of materials, and limits theirs to “opulent Western European, American Colonial and contemporary American fabrics.” With every bead, thread and sequin, Colby has a higher agenda, weaving those historical obsessions with big ideas like colonialism and toppling establishments. “I’m interested in subverting the aesthetics of violent, patriarchal systems through camp,” Colby adds.


  1. Cassils - Painter 

The internationally known artist strives to “hijack” the viewers' experiences, so that anyone present “doesn't remain on the outside, but becomes accountable in witnessing and watching.” One of Cassils' most-discussed works was 2017's “Pissed,” a response to the Trump administration's rollback of the trans bathroom bill, for which the artist collected their own urine for 200 days straight, and presented the results in an exhibition, showing “the physical burden placed on an individual body when bathroom access is restricted.” Inspired by the words of Emory Douglas, whose graphic design became emblematic of the Black Panther Party, Cassils said, “I believe that art can inspire a culture of change, and I hope that my work [within] the LGBTQ community can do that.”

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