BY FRANCESCA LEWIS
Six months ago I wrote about a group of queer small business owners in Oakland raising funds for a community space called Qulture Collective. Located in downtown Oakland, their mission was to “provide a central, devoted space for LGBTQIA folks to network, cultivate creativity, and develop and accomplish entrepreneurial goals.” Well, they did it, and they officially opened regular hours in November. With a café, shop, workspace and gallery, it has already become a key fixture of Oakland’s queer community, supporting local art and culture, and serving as a social hub for queer creative types in the Bay Area.
This month you can head on down to their Franklin Street location and check out multidisciplinary artist India Davis’ month-long residency, featuring an exhibition of photography and video work. “From A Place With No Space or Time” is the culmination of Davis’ four year collaboration with New Orleans photographer Lauren Hind. Shot in New Mexico and New Orleans, the installations show Davis, an acrobat and dancer, embodying “traditional and imagined spiritual and cultural archetypes as a means for creating new narratives that reflect queer Black femme experience and power.”
The exhibition, which will remain throughout February, is an apt choice for Black History Month.
“I want to recognize that ghosts, spirits, and supernatural entities are a very real way that people understand themselves and reality,” says Davis, “It’s about channelling, and self-determination, and creating worlds that lift up what feels true. This is especially important for queer people, people of color, trans people, who in dominant American cultural narratives aren’t given power, and may not even exist.”
Davis is a fascinating woman. A trained acrobat, aerialist and pole dancer, she teaches pole, acrobatic and aerial hoop classes for queer and trans people of color throughout the Bay Area. She is Artistic Director of Topsy Turvy Queer Circus, a circus with a difference, “highlighting artists of color, trans-identified and gender variant performers, and artists with varieties of body types and abilities”, which featured for the last three years in The National Queer Arts Festival. She is also a founding member, dancer and choreographer of Body Waves, an awesome queer Black acrobatic dance collective based in Oakland.
To learn more about Qulture Collective’s kickass space, check out their website.
Francesca Lewis is a queer feminist writer from Yorkshire, UK. She writes for Curve Magazine and The Human Experience as well as writing short fiction and working on a novel. Her ardent love of American pop culture is matched only by her passion for analyzing it completely to death.