Three Laughs by Ben Dunn

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Queer Imagination

Submitted on May 25, 2021 - 11:51am
Queer Imagination exhibition logo

COVID-19 Notice

Thirty-minute, no-contact viewing appointments are available for this exhibition. All visits require a completed health attestation form, and all visitors must wear masks. No more than two individuals are permitted per appointment. Check appointment availability.


June 3 – July 8, 2021

The Jacob Lawrence Gallery proudly presents Queer Imagination, a group exhibition curated by Brittney Frantece, recipient of the gallery’s 2021 Curatorial Fellowship for BIPOC Graduate Students. Queer Imagination asks, how can creative works distort material realities and build a world that explores new ways of being, thinking, and knowing?

The exhibition features works by Portland-based set designer August Oaks and four University of Washington artists and scholars: writer Rasheena Fountain, poet Nanya Jhingran, photographer Berette S Macaulay, and illustrator and painter Meshell Sturgis. Together they offer insights into a world governed by violent logic and contemplate ways to radically warp, shift, redesign, or altogether burn that world to the ground.

“We work to build a world that can only be accessed through ecstatic means of imagining other existences,” Frantece says. She was inspired by the seminal essay by literary critic and Black feminist scholar Hortense Spillers, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe,” which calls for people to “marvel in [our] inventiveness,” and by Robin D.G. Kelley’s 2002 book Freedom Dreams: the Black Radical Imagination, in which Kelley writes that a “vision of freedom…deep and… a movement that invites dreaming, urges us to improvise and invent, and recognize the imagination as our most powerful weapon.”

About the Curator

Brittney Frantece is a writer, artist, educator, curator, and PhD candidate in the University of Washington’s English Department. She studies Black feminist speculative fiction and art, and her work centers around speculation, experimentation, surrealism, and horror. In her dissertation, she considers the ways Black arts distort reality to reveal moments of contention between colonial, capitalist, anti-Black limitations placed on Black people in the material worlds, as well as the ecstatic practices Black communities and peoples (herself included) use to transcends those limitations, thereby queering what is commonly thought of as reality. Frantece teaches for UW's Expository Writing Program and has conducted workshops for The Northwest School and Henry Arts Gallery. Her writing has appeared in Variable West, Black Embodiments Studios Journals, Hawai'i Review chapbook, and various art writing collections. Her artwork has been exhibited at The Manifest and Lana Lane Studios in Honolulu and The Beans Gallery in Chicago.