My Immovable Truth: a Dallas lineage (2013)
My Immovable Truth: a Dallas Lineage is a collaborative project that began with an invitation to participate in a city-wide Dallas arts festival called MAP 2013. The director of MAP, Janeil Englestad, was aware of the work I had been doing with communities and archives and invited me to develop an “archival” project in Dallas. My commitment to unrecognized communities led me first to a phone relationship with an African-American lesbian activist named Alpha Thomas, and later to a circle of artists and activists she pulled together, African-Americans of a variety of queer identities who in some way experienced outsider status in the broader Dallas LGBT community. This began a relationship, both in Dallas and long distance, in which as an artist I drew out and curated artifacts, documents, images and clothing to become a living archive of ten people and the communities they are part of. The director of the beautiful African American Museum in Dallas, Dr. Harry Robinson, invited the exhibit we created to the museum from October, 2013 through February, 2014, adjacent to another exhibit about lesbians in the South. It was the first time the museum engaged with work representing LGBT community, and the first time my ten collaborators were offered visibility by this institution. My Immovable Truth is currently in a temporary home, with plans in discussion for how to launch a more permanent archive.
This exhibit begins to manifest the history of several African-American Dallas residents who openly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender-loving people. Their tangible memories unfold as art, documents, photographs, video, objects and words that reference complex and active lives. This is a multi-generational story of spiritual and political courage that has had to address racism within the dominant Dallas LGBT community and homophobia/transphobia within parts of the African American community. These archive collaborators have fought battles on the most vulnerable of personal fronts as well as within corporations, bars, churches, on the streets and through a variety of art forms. This exhibit brings into public view just a few of their stories, fragments of a much larger history. The truth represented here is enduring, shifting, immovable, and vital. This is history, all our history, and it forms a powerful lineage that commands recognition.
The title “My Immovable Truth” comes from a poem by participant Gayle Bell.
Artistic Director - E.G. Crichton
Project Organizer - Alpha Thomas
George Keaton, Jr.
Funding: Produced with support from MAP 2013, University of California, Santa Cruz Academic COR, and UCSC Arts Dean Fund for Excellence.