The 'AS BRIGHT AS YELLOW' manifesto was made a little over a year ago to help us imagine a future universe that centers the work, lives and practices of queer, trans, womxn, people of color, the folks in our communities that are the most targeted. This collection invites you to put this future universe on your chest and backs and sleeves and stand strong in prioritizing these communities, you and me and our loved ones.
Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo is an artist, activist, educator, storyteller & curator who lives and works in Oakland, CA. Branfman-Verissimo’s work is informed by her commitment to craft and community, her engagement with society, and interests in storytelling and cultural geography. Through the processes of story collecting, printmaking, painting, sculpture building and performance, she strives to re-create and re-tell her personal tales and those of the people that surround her. These tactile, process-based mediums reflect the multi-layered complexity of the voices echoed in her work. Through interacting with her art, viewers are prompted to recall and tell their own stories, offering power and weight to the creation of a larger dialogue.
Lukaza is fascinated by the relationship of the individual to society. With her mixed identity as a queer, Jewish-American, African-Brazilian woman, it places her in a midst of numerous communities nationally and abroad. Her stories are intertwined with those of many others. The engaging process of gathering the narratives of people and communities that surround her is on equal ground with the artistic craft of telling them.
She has had solo exhibitions at Deli Gallery [Long Island City, NY], Lago Projects and E.M. Wolfman [Oakland, CA], Bolivar Gallery [Los Angeles, CA], Boom Concepts [Pittsburgh, PA] and an upcoming at Guerrero Gallery [San Francisco, CA]. Her work has been included in exhibitions and performances at EFA Project Space [New York City, NY], Leslie Lohman Museum for Gay & Lesbian Art [New York City, NY], STNDRD [Steuben,WI], San Francisco State University Gallery, Signal Center for Contemporary Art [Malsom, Sweden], San Francisco Museum of Contemporary Art, Osaka Art University, The Berkeley Art Museum, UNTITLED Art Fair [San Francisco, CA], Pt. 2 Gallery [Oakland,CA] and San Francisco Arts Commission, amongst others. She is the lead curator at Nook Gallery, a gallery in her home kitchen and the Visual Arts Editor for the New Life Quarterly Magazine. To see more of her work, visit www.LukazaBranfman-Verissimo.com or follow @bluekaza on Instagram.
I took some time to ask Lukaza some questions about Bright for Survival. Read below!
Q: WHAT DOES SUPPORT AND SAFETY & CARE FOR QUEER FOLKS LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
A: Support, safety and care for queer folks looks like standing up for what you believe in, and also knowing when stepping back is protection for you. It looks like loving yourself and your loved ones for who they are. It looks like being in community, reading, loving, caring, learning from, listening to, being heard, being trusted and prioritized. It looks like feeling safe when you’re walking home.
Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS THAT YOU THINK BLACK AND BROWN BODIES COULD BE MORE PRIORITIZED?
A: Our histories and stories need to be at the forefront, they need to be taught and archived and memorized and loved. Our bodies need to keep breathing, we need to fight to make sure we don’t lose anymore brown and black bodies to white supremacy, police violence, systemic racism. We need to be able to safely live our lives in the fullest ways!
Q: CAN YOU OFFER A SELF-CARE TIP FOR THE COMMUNITY?
A: Making time and space for yourself and your needs in little and big ways — being proud of yourself, your body, your work, your life, and remembering that you are a beautiful blessing to the community around you.
“Never in a million queers, will there be another you!”
Q: WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE TO PEOPLE A BOUT HOW TO BE A BETTER ALLY / SUPPORT?
A: Show up, support us and trust us! If you can, financial support helps a lot too & shared resources. If you don’t know how to show up, just ask!
Check out the links below to some of my favorite organizations and projects.
Transgender Gender-variant and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP): http://www.tgijp.org
Black & Pink: https://www.blackandpink.org
Compton’s Transgender Cultural District: https://www.transgenderdistrictsf.com
CTRL+SHFT Collective: http://ctrlshftcollective.com
QueerWOC Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/queerwoc
Color Theory Book:http://wolfmanhomerepair.com/books
Trans Lifeline: https://www.translifeline.org/donate/
Women’s center for Creative Work: https://womenscenterforcreativework.com
Q: WHAT DOES SWEETNESS LOOK LIKE IN THE HARDEST TIMES?
A: Spending time with chosen family, who love you and can see your beauty in its truest forms.