"Forgetting is not a luxury afforded to us. Our past is present in every stitch of our existence and I honor each thread through photographic visibility and visual archives."
Ireashia is a Chicago-based photographer, multimedia artist, and emerging filmmaker. In their work, Ireashia uses the camera as a weapon against erasure, silence, and the invisibility of marginalized communities and stories. They combine participatory media making, auto-ethnography, and collaborative co-authorship as methods of excavation and exploration of black queer narratives.
COLUMBIA COLLEGE CHICAGO
B.A. JOURNALISM, 2015
I consider photography and film my main modes of expression in that they allow me to articulate things that I do not yet have the language. Combined, they challenge me to visualize my physiological and psychological environments through different angles, engage with people on interpersonal levels, and share the worlds I see. I use visual media to document, magnify, and make meaning of the different intersections of my own black experience. The root of my art stems from intrinsic lived experiences and introspective observations related to the black queer experience in the world. Common themes I explore and address in my work are: intergenerational trauma, black queerness, culture, music, spirituality, sexuality and gender, disability rights, community and black love.
As I continue to grow as an artist working primarily in visual storytelling, I intentionally endeavor to push the boundaries and expand the possibilities of digital media, filmmaking, and transmedia storytelling by integrating interdisciplinary studies into my artistic process. This involves exploring, and combining, visual/sound design and transmedia storytelling with oral histories and ethnographic research. At the nexus of my praxis, I prioritize creative, compelling, and immersive storytelling regardless the discipline or medium. In doing so, I remain in serviceability of black queer narratives and stories which often get marginalized. — Ireashia
"Being black and queer has interjected me with the venom of purpose; making everything I do a type of stroke of magic. I am an involuntary magician, turning pebbles into flowers and bigotry into fluffy, white rabbits. It turns my speech into poetry. It transforms my romance into revolution. It makes my sexuality a wild act of liberation. It shifts my mere existence into purpose. It turns my art into magic."
-- Myles E. Johnson for Mused Magazine
Exhibitions & Showcases
The Pearls My Mother Gave Me Opening Reception and Showcase, Build Coffee Chicago IL
The Pearls My Mother Gave Me, HUME Gallery Chicago IL
Perform. Self/Reflect, Stony Island Arts Bank Chicago, IL
#RESISTANCE, #RESILIENCE Museum of African American History Boston, MA
Old Black Magic Showcase Chicago Art Department Chicago, IL
Collected Voices Film Festival Chicago, IL
QUEER, ILL & OKAY, Storefront Theatre Chicago, IL