Liquid Gender

Saturday 17 February 2024, 9am - midnight

Sainsbury Centre

In an exploration of the relationship between gender expression and identity, with a focus on pre-colonial traditions, the Sainsbury Centre will present works by a myriad of internationally acclaimed artists, including new work, UK premieres and new acquisitions.

New Orleans born Rashaad Newsome (b.1979), whose multi-disciplinary work explores black and queer space in art history, will make a new holographic work titled In the Absence of Evidence, We Create Stories (2024) which will look both to the cultural traditions of the past and the possibility of the future. Using objects from the Sainsbury Centre´s own collection, these will be used as part of a visual dialogue with African sculptures that transform into futuristic cyborgs and speak about their past, present and future.

In a UK premiere, American artist Martine Gutierrez (b.1989) will showcase her Demons (2018) series in its entirety which depicts the artist as a deity from Aztec, Maya and Yorùbá traditions. Part of her ‘Indigenous Woman’ publication, a 146-page art magazine inspired by glossy magazines, the images are infused with androgynous characteristics.

Afro-indigenous photographer Laryssa Machada (b.1993) and Indigenous creative Antônio Vital Neto Pankararu (b. 1996???) document queer Indigenous identities in the Brazilian Northeast in Origem (2020), a series of photographic portraits overlaid with Indigenous motifs accessible through an augmented reality (AR) application designed by pioneering Bolivian digital artist Lucia Grossberger Morales (b. 1952). The result of a research project at the University of Leeds, it draws on centuries of both visibility and oppression of queer people in Brazil.

When artist Leilah Babirye (b.1985) sought asylum in the US after being publicly outed in her native Uganda, she saw drag queens for the first time, which inspired a series of vibrant works on paper. A group of these titled Kuchu Ndagamuntu (Queer Identity Card) (2021), which depicts the many faces and identities of her ambiguously gendered subjects will be presented. One of these works has also now been acquired by the Sainsbury Centre – thanks to funding from the Art Fund’s New Collecting Award – and will join the permanent collection.

This exhibition is part of our 2024 What Is Truth? Season