Queer Youth Self Portraits

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QYA_compositeJune 13, 2014
Queer Youth Arts presents LGBTQ Youth Self Portraits Project
Crystal Azul & Gr Keer
LGBT Center

LGBTQ Youth Self-Portrait Project is a visual arts exhibition featuring ten queer youth artists, exploring themes of embodiment and self-healing through painting, printmaking, and other art forms. It answers questions such as, What does it mean to be a young queer and questioning person in our culture at this time, and in history? How do youth see themselves, and how do they fit into the larger queer culture? This project gives queer youth the space to express themselves as whole people, without the fear of censorship around the visceral queer experience, and encourages them (and us) to celebrate their unique voices. Self-portraiture, especially, encourages youth to center themselves as important, and in fact vital and necessary, subjects of artistic focus and exploration.

The show runs June 2-31, with an opening reception on June 13. Check out our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/qyoutharts) for additional details.


QYA_LuzHonealuz sylvia is a queer and genderqueer femme writer and artist. she is interested in getting vulnerable, learning how to be ok, and how to find home in every space, among other things. they live in oakland with their most perfect cat, luna maude. http://cargocollective.com/luzsylvia/


Bucket Manyweather

Bucket Manyweather is a non-binary, poet-writer kid. They currently exist in Hayward and admires lava lamps for their ability to change form.

Taylor Isaacson is a queer identified woman living, loving, and figuring out life in San Francisco. She is interested in the concepts of “shape” and “structure” in both photography and poetry. She is excited to investigate the concept of identity through imagery and words.

QYA_HalleCountrymansqHalle Countryman is a visual artist in Oakland who likes Ray Bradbury, Star Trek (in most forms), Doctor Who, and science.  She would love to discuss any of these topics at length with you.



AzulCrystal Azul (curator) is a multidisciplinary artist/curator, writer, doula, and educator who identifies as a Queer Macha Femme of mixed-ancestry. She has curatorial and gallery experience from First Street Gallery (Eureka, CA) and Long Beach City College. She has shown artwork in galleries and cafes in Northern California and is an artist at The Compound Gallery and Studios in North Oakland. Crystal Azul is an art and ecoliteracy educator in Fruitvale, as well as an organizer and arts instructor with the Pushing Margins summer art and writing camp for LGBTQ youth (http://pushingmargins.org/). Crystal is also a graduate of the 2013 VONA/Voices of Our Nation writing workshops for Writers of Color, and has recently been published in Black Girl Dangerous and AsUs Literary Journal.

KeerGr Keer (curator) is a bicoastal, genderqueer poet and librarian who dabbles in drawing and photography. Gr has performed in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Northern California, including appearances in Oakland at Manifest Reading and Workshop Series, Culture Fuck!, and Health Initiatives for Youth Third Thursdays Queer Open Mic. Their poetry has been published in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, poeticdiversity: the litzine of los angeles, THEM, and a chapbook called heterotextual. Gr also has over a decade of experience working with youth in higher education.

Creative Mentors:

DaoTonhu Dao is deeply inspired by their ma and communities, they have spent the last 6 years exploring the ways in which creative expression can fuel collective and individual empowerment and healing. Their life work speaks multiple languages, has transnational consciousness, and deep roots. You can find them bobbing their head to slow jamz on AC Transit and facilitating/engaging in queer, trans* and POC spaces centralizing ancestral food and language; performance; music and movement; and consciousness raising.

RockettTaijhet Nyobi Rockett is a queer educator and artist. She uses art as a self care and restorative justice tool for communities of color. The purpose of her art is to write the experiences of her communities into history through visibility and celebration.

QYA_MaryLuongsqMary Luong, or you can call them M, is a genderqueer printmaker, photographer and painter and sometimes they write poetry. They can finally say they are getting their BA in Arts and Women’s studies in paper, after a few years in limbo. They have some experience working with youth at Pushing Margins and being around them at Bay Area Girls Rock Camp. M lives in Oakland and believes in the uniqueness that each queer youth will bring.


hify logoHealth Initiatives For Youth (HIFY) is providing the space in which Queer Youth Arts art-workshops are taking place Thursday evenings! HIFY multicultural organization whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of underserved young people through innovative youth leadership, popular education and advocacy, in pursuit of multi-level social change.HIFY has launched Oakland’s only Thursday night drop-in spot for LGBTQ youth ages 24 & under. The QTY Treehouse is a safe space to hang out, make new friends, learn new skills, play games, watch movies, create art….Every Thursday from 4-8pm. https://www.facebook.com/HIFYouth

pushing margins logoPushing Margins is an organization designed to empower LGBTQQIAA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and Allied) youth from across the Bay Area through arts education. At our yearly summer camp and workshops, youth come together to paint, draw, write, and otherwise create a new youth art culture. Under the direction of experienced local artists and writers, participants make art that explores their complex and individual identities, investigating how their sense of self is informed by their experiences of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, religion, and nationality.  Activities emphasize technique, self-expression, and awareness of contemporary and historic artists and writers.  In addition, participants have the opportunity to make connections to the local art community.