A living exhibition is out to give visibility and voice to queer youth across the globe, in vivid colors. The show is an extension of the website "Testimony," a worldwide storytelling project that the Coalition for Queer Youth launched last year. The project depicts the transformative power of sharing one's voice.
One recent post is entitled "How a gay homeless teen became his high school's valedictorian," another simply presents the e.e. cumming's quote: "it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." The accompanying exhibition will display a collection of the stories collected on the website this year alongside images, some but not all being self-portraits. Exploring the powers of creativity and memory, a diverse collection of LGBTQ artists and activists will show the role of art in shaping an identity.
The exhibition features work from well-known artists as well as from the exhibition's visitors, who are encouraged to share their stories. Photographer Amos Mac of the trans men's lifestyle and culture magazine Original Plumbing features his photos of queer bedrooms. Combining the documentary feel of one's intimate living space with the vibrant boldness of his subject's costumes and poses, Mac shows how identity is both lived and chosen.
While many of the works celebrate queer culture, others present somber images of people who often remain invisible. Samantha Box presents black-and-white portraits of LGBTQ homeless youth who come together as family. With up to 50% of homeless youth identifying as queer, the "Invisible" collection captures the faces that live the grim statistics. Molly Steadman's works are the only non-photographic works in the show, presenting drawings of transwomen who were murdered in hate crimes. With strength and sensitivity, "Testimony" reaches out to those who cannot speak for themselves, while inspiring others to follow suit.
"Testimony: A Living Exhibition Of Queer Youth" is organized by Alexis Handwerker, a social worker and storyteller, founder of the Hear Me ROAR! Project. It will show from July 18 until July 28 at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York. Featured artists include Amos Mac, Brian Shumway, Bklyn Boihood, Gerard Gaskin, HuffPost blogger Michael Sharkey, Molly Steadman, Samantha Box, Valerie Shaff, and We Are The Youth.
Check out the slideshow below and submit your own testimony: