I am a practicing visual artist in the UK, as well as having done arts management and consultancy, but I was thrown several curve balls--perhaps a few too many at once. From 2012 to 2014, my father died from cancer, which was the same time that I lost my job, and I was diagnosed with HIV. My life stopped. The world seemed to stop. But, it didn’t, and I couldn’t. It has been a couple years, and I am on my way to a full recovery from all of the trauma (including those traumas I cannot disclose). The most important thing that I learned was to not turn inwards, but rather outwards, which is where a project I will be dedicating years to emerged: Balaclava.Q.
Balaclava.Q was founded on 4 July 2016. It is an international queer visual art project that asks artists to look at tactics that obscure the face. Currently, it is showcasing works by 100+ international queer artists. Balaclava.Q seeks to generate discourse, awareness and visualities around issues that affect the lives of queers. Thus, Balaclava.Q is also a space--specifically a social media space--to have queers connect and form communities. I believe this is an important aspect of life and being with others--to have complex relations that have space(s) for the growing and flourishing of queer art and intimacies--as well as the room (both “real” and virtual) to continue the generosity and generativeness that is part and parcel to so much of queer art, people, relations, and projects--such as Balaclava.Q.
I write this because I am at a crucial point in this project. First, it should be stated that Balaclava.Q has done a global Day With(out) Art event, titled HIVideo on 1 December 2016, and which take place every year. Through this event--as well as the Facebook page and WordPress site--Balaclava.Q has initiated conversations between artists and non-artists. Balaclava.Q has successfully promoted their art--where some are has been sold, and all proceeds to the artist--Balaclava.Q doesn’t keep a cent. Furthermore, it has promoted artists’ voices through the “In Conversation with” interview series, and it has
successfully used social media such as Instagram, YouTube and Twitter to further promote queer artists in the Balaclava.Q’s current stable of artists. But, again, Balaclava.Q is at a crucial point in its development--which I should state is not simply my project, but always already a collaborative effort that shifts by the influences and ideas of various artists. Thus, crucial funding is of the utmost.
I am humbly asking for $5477 (or £4398), which will safeguard the project--thus, not only seeing through to 2020, but also building upon its successes and the plans for it that are currently in progress. For example, a major exhibition, titled HE, in Los Angeles in 2018 in which I am co-curating an aspect of the exhibition using Balaclava.Q artists, which will be also be archived in a catalogue. I will also be working with the US and of the countries for Balaclava.Q in order to have a stronger global--thus multicultural and globalized presence. Therefore, computer equipment is extremely necessary given the state of my computer and drives, which could lead to the possibility of losing entire archives. Thus, allow me to go line-by-line for the expenses (in U.S. dollars): international flight (LDN to LAX) $835, internal flight (LAX to JFK) $550, printing of art works and framing for HE $835, per diem $563, workshops (that will aid approx. 60 artists) $1264, computer equipment (archival/external hard-drive and iPad) $1220, website + domain (for the Balaclava.Q website for four-years, which will move it from WordPress) $210. I know, believe me, that is a large sum of money, but this is for almost five-years of resources and equipment--as well as making in-person U.S. and European connections--as well as other more immediate needs.
In a world that is again becoming hostile to queers, especially because of Brexit and Trump, in Euro-America, not to mention the chronic hostility in non-Western countries, a project such as this is both necessary and important. I hope that you will be able to aid me in this invaluable and urgent project. At the core of this request for funds is to retain connectivity and expand this project that will essentially provide opportunities and platforms for a diverse group of queer artists. As an incentive, anyone who donates $200 becomes a Balaclava.Q Member, anyone who donates $400 becomes a Bronze Lifetime Patron + one unlimited edition print, for $600 one becomes Silver Lifetime Patron + one print (edition of 10), and, finally, for $1000 one becomes a Gold Lifetime Patron + one print (edition of two). I sincerely ask that you will donate to this fundraiser. It gives voice, and as we know--and all too well--silence = death. Please help me (and others) to shout!