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side academe, he searched for visual texts in places where the prevailing structures of white racial supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy shapes standards of beauty and, ultimately, limits the agential potential of women subjects/consumers/ objects, especially those who might identify as trans women of color. His visual works are also placed in conversation with an auditory text — a soundtrack composed of quotable statements from several variably-identified feminists — produced to draw attention to the different forms of tension his work explores. But Newsome also returns to the ballroom scene — a counter cultural black trans and queer space his work tends to traffic in. The popularized vogue femme elements in many ways give shape to his work as well as the expressive culture he draws from to shape singular works like BAAAAAAAM! and COY among others. The positioning of legs in both works give the viewer the impression the body is in motion as it masters floor performance, one of the elements of vogue. This work is about shifting bodies. But the exhibition also includes a video installation that is organized around simultaneously looped cameos of Amazon Mother Leiomy Maldonado, widely known outside of the ballroom community as a cultural icon, sharing the five elements of vogue, as a visual cue that transgressive trans femme bodies can also shift space. Black trans scholar and cultural worker, Kai Green, described shapeshifting as “the ability to change oneself.” But he also went on to offer what he foresees as an aim that surfaces as a result of self-actualization and shaping. “I want to have self-determination economically, politically and socially, which for me includes gender self-determination.” This is what cultural anthropologist Aimee Meredith Cox describes as a “choreography of citizenship” or the various performances it takes to shift discourses and spaces. STOP PLAYING IN MY FACE! is an attempt at both, but it does so by refusing to disremember the bodies central to the projects’ imaginary. Black trans women are centered in the work. But it is not enough to demonstrate how trans femme representations signify powerlessness. Newsome attempts to cen-

Profile for De Buck Gallery

Rashaad Newsome digital catalogue  

Rashaad Newsome digital catalogue  

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