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Queer Art Workers Reflect: Golden Nightsong Collier Is Focusing on Liberation

LGBTQ Pride month is now. Every day in June, we are celebrating the community by featuring one queer art worker and asking them to reflect on what this moment means to them.

Artist Golden Nightsong Collier (all images courtesy Golden Nightsong Collier)

The month of June is a time to celebrate LGBTQ communities. It’s a moment to reflect on the rich history and culture of the queer community, as well as more recent advances made in the realm of civil liberties. This year, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many queer individuals are navigating greater risks to their health, safety, and livelihoods.

Cognizant of the need to stay connected and elevate queer voices amid uncertainty, Hyperallergic is commemorating Pride Month by featuring one queer art worker per day on our website and asking them to reflect on what this time means to them. If you identify as a queer art worker, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to learn more about how to participate. 

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What’s your name?

Golden Nightsong Collier

Where are you based currently? 

Philadelphia

Describe who you are and what you do.

I am a Philadelphia-based multidisciplinary artist and have been honing my printmaking skills for the past several years. I am currently a fellow and keyholder member of Soapbox Community Print Shop, a 2020 Broken Pencil grant recipient, and have had recent shows in Seattle, Oakland, New York, and Toronto. Through Diasporan Savant Press, I create, print, and publish works elevating marginalized members of the African diaspora, including (but by no means limited to) folks in recovery, folks of size, TGNC folks, queer folks, disabled folks, working-class folks, poly folks, children and youth, and elders. I am working on a written anthology of interviews with Black non-binary people, and as a documentary fellow for Scribe Video Center, I am creating a documentary exploring the perspectives of folks at the intersections of Blackness, queerness, non-binary identity, and more.

A print by Golden Nightsong Collier

Tell us about your greatest achievement or something you’ve done lately that you’re proud of.

One thing I’m really proud of is the maintenance of my commitment to self care, growth, and my sobriety during this time. Black people have been hit especially hard by this pandemic because so many of us have pre-existing health conditions, are incarcerated, are underpaid essential workers, are living in Southern states, and facing intense housing and healthcare and employment discrimination, etc. It’s very discouraging. There has been so much death, grief, and loss in my circles, but through it all, I have maintained my sobriety and continued my recovery one day at a time. It’s a HUGE victory to be able to do so because there is so much stress and uncertainty afoot. Every day that I can take care of myself this way is a massive blessing I give myself for which I am immensely grateful. Big shout out to all the sober queers!

Favorite ways to celebrate your queerness and community?

Well, pre-COVID-19, I LOVED holding cultural events, salons, and healing spaces for my fellow queers. I love dancing and laughing with my chosen family, and I love researching and learning more about the queer and trans ancestors who came before us — their bravery, survival, and warriorship — and making art about them!

A flyer illustrated by Golden Nightsong Collier, for a market they organized

What’s been top of mind for you lately?

The liberation of all beings from suffering

Talk to us about your immediate queer community/support systems. (Feel free to shout out other folks or organizations you think are doing important work.)

As devastating as COVID-19 has been, it’s also brought so many communities together. My meditation practice and communities (Liberate Meditation app, East Bay Meditation Center) have been crucial. There are many artists who are banding together to provide mutual aid for other artists and raise money for different communities — it’s so beautiful. Oh! And I really love all of the badass collectives providing fun socially distanced party spaces for the kids while raising money for communities- folks like For the Gworls, Molasses Chicago, and CLOUD 9.

How are you celebrating Pride Month this time around?

I’m so sad we won’t be able to gather in large groups of queers, but I will definitely still be sunbathing in the park with my short-shorts, reflecting on the sacrifices and victories of my queer and trans ancestors, and zipping around town with my big queer flag on my bike! I’m really hoping excited to see all the ways the kids are going to cook up for queer gatherings via technology. I love us!

A flyer designed by Golden Nightsong Collier, for a screening they organized

Are there ways you think queer artists and art workers could be better supported?

Yes, and I’m also sure I don’t have all the answers. This is a HUGE question. The U.S. is such a hostile space for artists and creatives, and this pandemic has really jeopardized so many creative workers’ financial stability. One way to support queer artists and art workers is by sharing and purchasing their work if you are able. Alice Walker once said that “Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul” and we all benefit from acknowledging that creative work is serious WORK that makes all of our lives so much more juicy, satisfying, and beautiful.

In the communities that you’re part of, what are you hoping to see shift in the future?

I’m really hoping that Black queer and TGNC folks, wherever we are, continue to build power, tapping into the incredible wellspring of creative resilience which is our ancestral birthright. In my heart, I dream of a more richly connected Black QTGNC diaspora, one where we further embrace and celebrate the torrential fecundity of our diversity and differences, to share resources and learn from each other. We’ve got to embrace the richness, resilience, and incredible diversity of the African Diaspora and reflect the infinite, fertile Blackness cradling our planet and our universe from which all life sprang. Anti-blackness is understood, in this context, as anti-life and entirely antithetical to visionary creative energy and the potential for healing. This could look so many different ways, but at the end of the day, this pandemic has connected us all more deeply and I’m just hoping we can heal and grow together.

A print by Golden Nightsong Collier

What’s the first thing you’re planning to do when it feels safer to physically gather again?

Travel to see my mother who I miss so much and give her a huge hug. Maybe I will sweep her away on a lil’ road trip, too ( ˘⌣˘)♡(˘⌣˘ )

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