Aaron Caldwell

Being black and gay in the U.S continuously places me in positions of activism and resistance to power structures. This relationship I continue to have with resistance, pain and struggle is what blackness and queerness are commonly boiled down to. My work serves as an opportunity to look at black and queer identity with a lens of interiority; allowing us to be multifaceted humans that engage in both the loudness and the quietness of our cultures and ourselves. My current work highlights black folks’ history with moisturizing products for the hair and body. Being considered physically ashy (white and dry skin) or socially ashy (wack, lame, ignorant) are lingo among black folk. As a result, products like lotion or coconut oil have become a staple in the Black community, and these works concretely elevate and expand upon this relationship unique to black culture. Ultimately, the goal of my work is to explore the distinctions I experience through blackness, queerness and black queerness.

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