“The Imaginary & Love: Women and Non-binary BIPOC Futures” project was born from my increasing recognition of the power and potential of the imagination, fantasy, and love as political and joy-making for marginalized peoples.
As a project based in the Davidson College community, I wanted to challenge the dominant narratives, in which BIPOC are consistently tokenized, provide uncompensated labor, and/or are represented as oppressed. I also wanted to resist any dismissal of imagination as infantile and any overlooking of love and joy’s gravity. Since this project was created by and for women and non-binary BIPOC, I have curated a narrative that presents women and non-binary BIPOC as caregivers and joy-makers between each other and with the agency to imagine futures beyond our contemporary reality.
To me, the imagination is political; it is a practice of understanding our contemporary context—the ways in which it lacks or is unjust—and creating and presenting alternatives to our current reality. There is power in imagining even seemingly intangible utopias, and a collective utopia for women and non-binary BIPOC must embody values of community care, mutual aid, solidarity, and love; QTPOC joy is radical in and of itself. For these reasons, I center the imaginary and love.
As the interviews demonstrate, our imaginations and our realities feed into each other, and our imagination has incredible power to effect and change our realities. Our alternative realities and radical love are crucial to our existence, resistance, and joy. The interviews affirm the perennial presence of imaginary and love throughout our collective lives and remind us to find strength and be courageous in both.
The painting is a culmination of responses from seven of the interviewees and is also a literal, material testimony to the visuals our collective imagination can inspire. Along with the exhibition of curated items, the interviews and painting are meant to inspire, broaden, and deepen the imagination of all those who interact with this space. In order to further actualize the futures that we imagine, I encourage you to support and donate to the Davidson Community Fund, as listed upon entrance to the website.
The following video, recorded by myself and edited by Maurice Norman, further outlines the initial thought process and goals of this project:
I would like to thank the Stories (Yet) to Be Told Grant and the SPIKE! Grant, initiatives sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Friends of the Arts respectively, for supporting my endeavors in conducting oral histories and producing art. I would also like to acknowledge Davidson College’s Sundi Richard, Assistant Director for Digital Learning, and Maurice Norman, Digital Projects Fellow, for advising me throughout my project, as well as Ashley Ip ’22 for leading web-design, and assisting in transcription along with Yashita Kandhari ’22.
Enormous gratitude for all my interviewees, without whom my project would not have been possible; thank you for entrusting me with your stories and visions and for expanding and shaping my understanding of the imagination and love. I enjoyed myself deeply during our conversations and believe that the thoughts we generated together and built off of with each other have had and will have material effects towards the futures we imagine. I hope that our collective imagination continues to expand with each viewer who interacts with this project.