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Samantha Nye
Island in the Stream, 2020
10 x 14.1”

Color printed on archival-grade Hahnemuhle Photo Rag at I/O Labs in Providence, RI. 

After production and shipping, 50% of sale to the artist (bc artists should always be paid) / 50% of sale to The Black School.

This work draws on glitzy Hollywood photographer Slim Aarons’ mid-century images of “attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places” but subverts Aarons' reductive stereotypes of race, class, and gender by reframing his images of white people in wealthy leisure environments. Instead, painting in queer elders cast from communities she meets during her research, as well as her own mom and grandmother, Sam inserts them into these historic scenes to create fantasies that function as an imaginary future “bound by the concept of chosen family” that is age and trans inclusive. Painting queer kinship, Sam acknowledges its “beautiful parts, the prickly parts, the radical parts and the parts that have long needed fixing,” imaging autonomous communities that rejected heteronormative familial structures and narrow definitions of sexuality and erotic pleasure. Thus reimagined, her paintings expand the parameters of love, agency, desire, and belonging.