Queer|Art Awards 2023 Illuminations Grant to Golden, Celebrating Black Trans Artists

–KL Dunn

The Children Are Running Indoors So What Else Do We Do But Cry Save Us, ©Golden

Queer | Art, a pivotal organization in New York City dedicated to nurturing LGBTQ+ artists, has announced Golden as the recipient of the 2023 Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists. This prestigious award is in its fourth year. It is a significant acknowledgment of the talent and contribution of Black trans women in the visual arts sector.

Golden was selected from over 51 applicants. This achievement is a testament to their talent and unique voice in the art world. They will receive a $10,000 cash grant along with invaluable professional development support. This includes individual studio visits with the judging panel, offering a unique opportunity for personal growth and artistic advancement.

Singing, the sky ain’t got shit on me ©Golden

One of the judges, Jonathan Lyndon Chase shared this about Golden’s work:

Golden’s visual photography evokes power, vulnerability, beauty, and glowing prowess. There are meditations on self reflection, communal embrace. The documentation on lived experiences in the Queer community and personal self expression are reminiscent of a home feeling.

Waiting For the Brave, ©Golden

Another judge, Lauren Haynes echoed this sentiment, noting

Golden’s photographs stood out among this year’s very strong group of visual artists. Each image left me wanting to see more and to engage more deeply with their practice—I am excited to see how Golden’s work continues to evolve.

Golden’s artistic journey is deeply rooted in photography, performance art, and poetry. It focuses on documenting, questioning, and expanding the archive of Black trans life in the U.S. Their work, rich in self-documentation, familial bonds, queer imagination, and Black love, is limitless and deeply referential.

Originating from Hampton, VA, with roots in Pocomoke City, MD, Golden’s upbringing and the Black American South informs their work. They write, “the ethos of my art practice is to utilize living archives of self documented photographs of Black trans life within, outside, and surrounding the home, paired with the poetics of Black speech to build, document, and articulate the breath between Black trans living and survival in the United States.”

This annual grant, developed in collaboration with notable figures like Mariette Pathy Allen, Aaryn Lang, and Serena Jara, is not just a recognition of individual talent but a way to help increase visibility of Black trans women in visual arts. It celebrates their contributions and offers critical support for their ongoing work.

Golden’s work, deeply personal and yet universally resonant, represents a critical voice in the ongoing discourse around race, gender, and identity in art. Their continued success and recognition are not only a triumph for themselves but also for the broader community of Black trans visual artists, who are increasingly gaining the visibility and acknowledgment they deserve in the art world.

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