Earlier this year Sassify Zine and Guy Cry Club opened up submissions from the queer community for our Queer creative fund.
We were looking for a queer artist who was the best at celebrating their queerness as a queer creative. Francesca Alaimo was the recipient of the fund, they are an Italian British artist based in London.Their work really resonated with us, it is exciting thought provoking and inherently queer in its content.
Francesca’s works are predominately Mixed Media on Paper Print exploring themes of identity, vulnerability and courage.Their most recent work, Quarantine, exposes the inner unseen self and our desperation to be seen and accepted.
Viewing the work you are challenged to feel the essence of what is instead of what appears to be. Subjects have accepted that they are not meant to fit in, but to stand out. Positioned provocatively they reveal the emotional layers of their struggles and dare the viewer to look closer.
Could you tell us a little bit about your queer journey so far?
I grew up in Italy in the 80’s and 90’s, a society infused with religion and toxic masculinity where queerness was not even a word, where the gay and lesbian community was mostly secreted and trying to mirror the same binary model of the heterosexual world.
As a two-spirited person I have struggled for years with my identity and queerness, trying to adapt to such limiting boundaries and for a long time unable to search outside that box. Despite having liberal and feminist parents I could not help but feeling shameful of whom I desired and who I was.
The lack of models in society and the silence on any form of gender non-conformity reinforced my sense of being incomplete and added to my struggle. Traveling in North America and moving to London was key to discovering non-binary and gender fluidity and finally finding a community that shared and validated my feelings.
It took a long time to break free from those curbs I grew up within and art was one of the paths that led me to explore and find wholeness in myself.
'' As a two-spirited person I have struggled for years with my identity and queerness, trying to adapt to such limiting boundaries and for a long time unable to search outside that box. ''
What inspires you to create and could you tell us a bit more about your creative practice....
My art is a niche where being true to myself is indispensable and unconditional.
As a queer creative I believe that what I express and communicate through art can inspire many other people who feel the same way and be a lifeline to those who are still struggling with their sense of self. I want to motivate others to turn shame and fear into vulnerability and courage, which open channels to dialogue and acceptance.
I want to celebrate and help acknowledge our queerness, bring a sense of hope and belonging to our community, give us voice, visibility and power.
My work explores visibility, vulnerability and courage within the context of gender, sex, sexuality and identity politics. I create interventions on paper through manipulation and transformation of materials and images. I use prints, water based oils, acrylics and wax.
Part of my artistic practice is to undo what I have painted, making my interventions messy and brutal. The act of undoing is intended to mimic the act of deconstructing our certainties and disclosing our being fragmented and inconsistent yet desperate to feel whole and grounded.
Mostly autobiographical, my paintings revolve around the idea that the body is a situation, not just something we get assigned to at birth. I challenge others to see, feel and want the essence of what is rather than what appears to be. I expose the struggle to be seen when we challenge societal expectations and reveal our truth unapologetically, as well as the strength, pain and determination we invest in that struggle.
How important is celebrating your queerness as a queer creative?
Mostly autobiographical, my work explores visibility, vulnerability and courage within the context of gender, sex, sexuality and identity politics. It revolves around the idea that the body is a situation, not something we are assigned to at birth.
It challenges others to see beyond what appears to be. It depicts the irreversible point when we take the world on and reveal our truth unapologetically. As a two-spirits person I have struggled for years with my identity and queerness, trying to find a niche in the world where I'd feel my real self.
My art is that niche. It is a lifeline to survival. It is a fulcrum that turns shame and fear into vulnerability and courage, which open channels to dialogue with others and to (self)acceptance. As a queer creative I believe that what I express and communicate through art can inspire many other people who recognise it and share it as their own true feelings.
The affirmation and celebration of our queerness is vital as it brings hope and a sense of belonging to us all. It gives us voice, visibility and, ultimately, power. We take what's ours at last.
'' My art is that niche. It is a lifeline to survival. It is a fulcrum that turns shame and fear into vulnerability and courage ''
What made you happy today?
Today I am dining with my younger cousin and two mutual friends. We are creating a queer art collective and today it will be our first official meeting!