WIP - Sacred Love/Sacred Lives update
In September 2022 I shared an advance post about an art project with my inner-circle folks.1 The project was in it’s infancy then. I had the crux of it sorted, which was to make mixed-media pieces incorporating six phrases:
Trans love is sacred, Disabled love is sacred, Queer love is sacred, Trans lives are sacred, Disabled lives are sacred, Queer lives are sacred.
Since then I’ve completed the initial three designs and moved on to complete three more, design six more, and reach out to fellow artists to collaborate. This final move was not something I’d planned when I first set out to create a series of works to uplift and celebrate the sacredness of communities I belong to. It’s not a surprising development though, considering the intention and influence behind the idea.
The first collaboration arose spontaneously after I purchased some stickers from a fellow queer artist. I started following their Instagram and kept thinking to myself, This artwork would translate well to embroidery.
On a whim, I sent them a DM, asking if they would like to create an original design to accompany the text in the series I was working on. They responded enthusiastically, and after a bit of back and forth they granted permission for me to use two of their figures to create an image for a piece that would accompany the text: Trans love is sacred.
As someone who often admires the skill of other artists, it was an honour to get to recreate someone’s work within something of my own. I enjoyed every bit of translating their holographic stickers into an acrylic painted embroidery piece. When it was complete I sent it back to them, feeling a great sense of community and belonging and joy for it.
I found several new connections thanks to that first collaboration. Within a week three other artists were on board, and found myself getting more ideas for my own designs along the way. This is helpful since I’ve decided to create 108 pieces for this project. This is an auspicious number in many schools of Buddhism. It’s the number of beads on the mala I wear on my left wrist, which I use during meditation and rituals. It’s a number I associate with liberation, enlightenment, and profound wisdom.
Working on this project is bringing me comfort and joy in the face of increased oppression, fear, and violence from conservatives, hate groups, and bigoted cishet people.2 I’m not sure how long it will take to make 108 pieces3 just as I don’t know how long it will take to bend the arc of humanity towards justice as we fight against those who would like to eradicate our very existence from public life.
I do know that every piece I work on is an act of defiance in the face of unchecked bigotry against trans, queer, and disabled folks. Each one I make in collaboration, sent as gifts to my fellow artists, is a reminder that they are loved just for existing. Each one, whether my own design or a collaboration, is a reminder every day that we are all sacred, in all our gorgeous various embodiments.
Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
If you are an artist who would like to collaborate on a piece for this project, you can learn more about it on my website. You can get in touch by email, or send me a DM on Insta, but be advised, I restrict how much I’m on social media for my mental health, and may not get back to you for several days.
Paid subscribers get access to posts that I don’t make public, or advance access to posts I only make public after a week or more.
I’m full of rage and grief a lot these days. Bigots are fear-mongering about the existence of drag queens and succeeding in attacking the bodily autonomy of anyone who doesn’t conform to an arbitrary status quo. There are now states in the US I cannot safely travel to, and even walking around the Canadian city I’m living in doesn’t feel entirely safe. Bigots have been picketing queer spaces, putting up hateful stickers on lamp posts, and generally going out of their way to make people like me know that they would rather I didn’t exist. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE.
As of the publication of this piece, I’ve completed eight! Two collabs and six of my own designs!