In Thomas’ most recent project ‘Distance is Not Separation’– she takes us back to what it means to be a femme black person growing up playing on the street corner, waiting till the street lights came on, the street lights being a signal for the darkness coming. Both a symbol and warning sign for ones safety. The last moments before the call and response between mother/parent/queer family and child: “It’s time to come home, I’m coming.” Thomas investigates the black femme body in relation to the athletic body, thinking about value and skills. Thomas rethinks and rebalances how we see and observe sports imagery, the labor and value of craftsmanship, the hairdresser, the janitor, the ‘exotic’ dancer and how language constructs and transcribes symbols on to the black femme body.
KEIJAUN THOMAS (CHICAGO/US) creates live performance and multimedia installations that oscillate between movement and materials that function as tools, objects and structures as well as a visual language that can be read, observed and repeated within spatial, temporal and sensorial environments. Her work investigates the histories, symbols and images that construct notions of Black identity within black personhood. Thomas examines, deconstructs and reconstructs notions of visibility, hyper-visibility, passing, trespassing, eroticized and marginalized representations of the black body in relation to disposable labor, domestic service and notions of thingness amongst materials as a way to address blackness outside of a codependent binary structure of existence. Thomas earned their Masters degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Thomas has shown work both nationally and internationally in Los Angles, CA, Portland, OR, Chicago, IL, Boston, MA, New York, NY and Taiwan, Taipei, Paris, France and the United Kingdom.