Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Interview with Melissa Boyajian: "In Between: (re)Negotiating Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality"

Via Queering Yerevan, interview with Melissa Boyajian, Armenian artist from Boston who featured In Between: (re)Negotiating Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality at the Allegheny College Art Galleries.
Melissa Boyajian

Odalisque for Said, 2006
Image courtesy of the artist

(for full interview, follow the links above):

VG: Why did you use a beard in this image and not a mustache?

MB: I don't know if I am being too simple saying that I was working with the idea of the 'bearded lady.' The beard did not signify anything religious or anything from Bear culture. The bearded lady, however, aside from being a subject of laughter, ridicule or "schizonphrenic" subject with "gender confusion" problems, is also an individual pushing the boundaries of gender and normality that is appreciated in the queer community. Such as circus entertainer, writer and bearded lady Jennifer Miller.
VG: Do you see gender as binary?

MB: I see gender as performative and fluid, no binary at all.

[...] I have a group of gay friends in Armenia anyway. So I have different identities for different cultures. I go to Armenia every few years. My work also deals with this -- with the sexism and homophobia in Armenian culture.

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