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Thompson, Khalif, (Marsha P. Johnson)


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"Marsha P. Johnson" by Khalif Thompson

30 in x 40 in, Wall paint, Papyrus, Handmade paper(denim, hemp, abaca, rose petals), Gold leaf, leather, oil on canvas. -- unframed

Marsha P. Johnson (August 24, 1945 – July 6, 1992), born and also known as Malcolm Michaels Jr., was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. A founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Johnson co-founded the radical activist group Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.), alongside close friend Sylvia Rivera. A popular figure in New York City's gay and art scene, Johnson modeled for Andy Warhol, and performed onstage with the drag performance troupe Hot Peaches.[6] Known for decades as a welcoming presence in the streets of Greenwich Village, Johnson was known as the "mayor of Christopher Street." From 1987 through 1992, Johnson was an AIDS activist with ACT UP. (source Wikipedia)

Working primarily through portraiture and figuration, I build open and atmospheric compositions rendered from found or handmade materials, creating environments that host concepts that interest me concerning self-identity, race, spirituality, psychology and indefinable things that make each person an individual. In response to the ambition and power of the art historical and contemporary figurative work, I impart sensitive and emotionally rich works that add to my own experiences. I bring to my figurations a probing element of paper-making and collage. I tend to work large-scale and enjoy layering the surface, informing the structure and emanating a stream of consciousness of sorts. I describe an inner dialogue towards my subjectivity, using text and journal entries, as well as metaphorical imagery. The paintings are active in exploring different modes of working that offer a hands-on approach to molding the material. The impermanence of life and its creations are an engrossing enigma within my paintings and therefore I attempt to augment presence. Through the representation of my immediate surroundings, relationships, memories, thoughts, and sentiments I provide them with importance and influence. In all, my work is a pure and consummate search for who I am and an eloquent practice of telling my story.

Khalif Tahir Thompson is best recognized in his powerful work concentrated in portraiture and figuration. Incorporating painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, and paper-making into his practice, he explores notions of self through race, sexuality, and spirituality. Recently he graduated from Purchase College with his Bachelor's in Fine arts degree and completed a fellowship at the EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in NYC. As well as residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Trestle Art Space. He was recently awarded a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council and is currently represented by the gallery of BLACK ART IN AMERICA (BAIA).

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