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  • Infinite AffinitiesWork from the Queer Ecology Hanky Project
  • Vanessa Adams and Mary Tremonte (bio)

As queer printmakers, artists, and nature freaks, we began the Queer Ecology Hanky Project as a way to bring together our many interests. Inviting artists to explore queer ecology— an area of inquiry that unites the study of biology, environment, and sexuality within the framework of queer theory— has given us windows into divergent possibilities for gender and sexuality, models of resilience and resistance in a world that feels increasingly bleak. In recent years, queers of all genders and proclivities have expanded the definitions of the original gay hanky code— which emerged in the United States in the early 1970s, as a means for gay men to subtly communicate sexual desires—to include different bodies, identities, and activities. We love designing, printing, and distributing bandannas as wearable artwork, and as a means to continue the queer communication of flagging, of finding affinity with plants, animals, mycelia, and each other.

In seeking artists and art for the project, we reached out to our intersecting networks of printmakers, artists, ecologists, zine makers, and herbalists, hoping the call for work would spread like mycelium growth. We created and shared a digital flier, and were fortunate to have the project amplified by a few online platforms with a wide reach. This resulted in a nice mix of artists we actively recruited and new-to-us strangers. The full collection, of which seven hankies are reproduced here, speaks to the diversity of queer experience.

We were pleased by the number of contributions that look at pleasure in the natural world, such as Corrine Teed’s exploration of salamanders’ same-sex summertime trysts. We were also intrigued by the overlapping and diverging investigations into interdependence—like Andrea Narno’s hanky, which looks to the intimate and integral relationships between the yucca and the yucca moth, snails and the snail-pollinated plant Volvulopsis nummularium. Several hankies explore interesting examples of relationship longevity—including Bekezela Mguni’s swans. Many artists used plant- and earth-based materials to dye their fabric, weaving the meanings and aesthetics associated with natural pigments into their hankies.

One of the most exciting things about this project is that it is artwork intended for activation. We hope these hankies will accompany walks in the woods, accessorize outfits at queer dance parties, bundle up foraged mushrooms, and start conversations. [End Page 105]


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ANDREA NARNO

UNTITLED, 2019, LINOCUT ON FABRIC, 22" X 22"

[End Page 106]


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ERIKO HATTORI

SOFT TOUCH, 2019, SCREEN PRINT ON FABRIC, 22" X 22"

[End Page 107]


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BEKEZELA MGUNI

SWANKY HANKY, 2019, SCREEN PRINT ON FABRIC, 22" X 22"

[End Page 108]


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LEX NON SCRIPTA

A ROAR BENEATH THE SURFACE, 2019, SCREEN PRINT ON FABRIC, 22" X 22"

[End Page 109]


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E HENDERSON

HIDDEN / UNHIDDEN, 2019, TWO-COLOR SCREEN PRINT ON FABRIC, 22" X 22"

[End Page 110]


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CORINNE TEED

VERNAL POOLS, 2019, SCREEN PRINT ON FABRIC, 22" X 22"

[End Page 111]


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SYR REIFSTECK

CAN WE HOLD OUR CHANGES TOGETHER?, 2019, CYANOTYPE AND ANTHOTYPE ON FABRIC, 22" X 22"

[End Page 112]

Mary Tremonte

vanessa adams is an artist from New Orleans, based in Pittsburgh. Vanessa creates prints, zines, and installations exploring the life cycles of plants, the phases of the moon, and the future. Vanessa was a contributing artist to the Slow Holler Tarot Deck, a collection of tarot cards by southern /queer artists, and is co-curator, with Mary Tremonte, of the Queer Ecology Hanky Project. *

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Additional Information

ISSN
2165-2651
Print ISSN
1553-1775
Pages
pp. 105-112
Launched on MUSE
2020-06-18
Open Access
No
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