Featuring: Mengwen Cao, Naima Green, Melinda James, Nancy M. Musunguzi, Tara Pixley, Charmaine Poh, Gabriel Garcia Roman, Tia Thompson, Ka-Man Tse, Brian Vu, Justin J Wee, Elizabeth Wirija, Salgu Wissmath

Presented By

Authority Collective

Curated By

Mengwen Cao & Tara Pixley

This series of photographic and filmic portraits of queer people of color grows from a simple inquiry, a desire to envision the theoretical as material: What is queer? What experiences and bodies are obscured by certain notions of queerness writ large in the cultural imagination?

To “queer” has gradually become an academic catchphrase, a call-to-arms and an intervention intended to destabilize normalcy. “Queer” is many things to many people across various contexts. As such, the queer lived experience is beyond blurred. It now signals intersections of gender, sexuality, race, (dis)ability and various other modes of being. Yet, certain racial and gendered embodiments have achieved their own level of “normalcy,” rewriting what LGBTQIA is in their own image, adjusting the social lens to keep themselves primarily in focus.

A parallax is the effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions. By portraying individuals who occupy the intersection of queer embodiment and blackness/brownness, who defy the accepted binaries of gender and sexuality, these portraits provide a rare, alternate view of the contemporary queer experience.

Make sure to also check out Walking Tour with Mengwen Cao, Authority Collective at Photoville LA.


The Authority Collective is a group of womxn, femmes, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people of color reclaiming their authority in the photography, film and VR/AR industries.

Our mission is to empower marginalized artists with resources and community, and to take action against systemic and individual abuses in the world of lens-based editorial, documentary and commercial visual work.

The work of Authority Collective has been featured at Month of Photography LA and at Photoville NYC. It has been profiled by Humble Arts Foundation, The New York Times and many others.

As an organization that seeks to recognize and highlight the work of POC photographers, specifically inclusive of queer, trans and nonbinary visual media makers, Authority Collective invites photographers of color to re-vision the lexicon that imagines the queer form, framing it as beautiful, strong, complex and multi-faceted.

Pulling from work such as N. Musunguzi’s vibrant depictions of the black queer aesthetic, Salgu Wissmath’s documentation of gender dysphoria, and Ka-Man Tse’s quiet ruminations on the queer quotidian, this exhibit offers a rarely seen snapshot into queer of color existence.

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