Lawrence Graham-Brown Rites of Passage/Sacred Spaces (2012)

Lawrence Graham-Brown confronts the politics of religion, sexuality, and blackness in Rites of Passage/Sacred Spaces (2012). Performed as a site-specific work at Judson Memorial Church, Graham-Brown and cast engage in ritualistic acts that draw from Afro-Caribbean folklore. The performers use fetish objects and various aromas in the tradition of Obeah—magic, sorcery, and religious practices developed by West African slaves in the Caribbean to ward off misfortune or to cause harm to another—while performing homoerotic gestures. In this rite of passage, the gay black male body becomes both a site of worship and a symbol of resurrection. This queer form of salvation seeks to reverse oppressive doctrines that deem homosexuality a sin. Instead, the power of redemption is displaced and reclaimed from a gay black male perspective. These acts work to combat and dispel homophobic ideals in religion, especially in Graham-Brown’s native Jamaica where Christianity is used to justify the killing and oppression of L.G.B.T. people.

Lawrence Graham-Brown is a cross-disciplinary artist working in performance, sculpture, painting, and media. As an openly gay Jamaican-American man, Graham-Brown's art practice works to combat homophobia and racism across geographical contexts. He uses his body as canvas to dispel the stigma that queer, intersexed, transgender, indigenous, and people of color routinely face. His artwork has been presented at the Queens Museum; El Museo del Barrio; Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art; Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Arts; Institute of Jamaica; National Gallery of Jamaica; Galeria Homero Massena; Royal West of England Academy; Arnolfini Centre for Contemporary Arts; Galerie Lutz Rohs; and Shanghai Biennial, among other international art venues. Graham-Brown's work has been written about in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Jamaica Gleaner, Art Recognition Culture (ARC), Caribbean Art World (CAW), and THE ARCHIVE journal of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.


Additional Materials

icon Rites of Passage/Sacred Spaces performance catalog

Media

Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2333.1/12jm696n

Additional Info

  • Title: Rites of Passage/Sacred Spaces
  • Holdings: photo gallery, video (HIDVL)
  • Duration: 00:20:32
  • Language: English
  • Date: 30 Mar 2012
  • Location: Judson Memorial Church, New York, New York, USA
  • Type-Format: performance art
  • Credits: Performed by Lawrence Graham-Brown, Rocheford Belizaire, Meechie Harriel, and Antonio Crowley. Lighting design by Lawrence Graham-Brown, Zac Mosley, and Tarra Raye Russo. Costumes by Lawrence Graham-Brown. Olfactory Notes by Lawrence Graham-Brown.