Pride Month may have come to a close, but the wide-ranging pieces shown here have staying power.
By Devan Shimoyama, 30, based in Pittsburgh
I tend to use unconventional materials, specifically in my paintings, and often borrow from drag culture and the glamorous black women I’ve known. I’m thinking about the spaces where we celebrate identity and construct different fantasies on top of our bodies — there’s a sort of peacocking associated with wearing one’s Sunday best, for instance. “Grandmother’s Blessing” (2019) shows my own grandmother, with pieces of costume jewelry affixed to the canvas for her eyes and a blouse made of a beaded brocade.
Whenever I move into a new place, she makes a point of coming out to visit and bless it, which sort of completes the space for us both. “The Abduction of Ganymede” leans more toward fantasy, a driving force in my work that allows me to create a brighter alternate reality. In the Greek myth, Zeus either sends his eagle or turns into an eagle and then abducts the most beautiful boy. My take is about self-love, about being able to embrace the narrative that you, with your black body, are beautiful.