Exclusive: 365 Days Of Pride, By Opening Ceremony
Opening Ceremony’s latest collaboration sees the New York label join forces with Matthew Riemer – co-curator of Instagram account @lgbt_history and co-author of photographic book We Are Everywhere, which explores the history of the Queer Liberation Movement – on a series of limited-edition T-shirts. Available to shop only on Farfetch, the six-piece collection celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community and benefits several queer New York institutions, with a proportion of sales going towards supporting these networks. ‘The idea came about when the community was talking about Pride being canceled,’ notes Opening Ceremony’s creative director, Humberto Leon. ‘The idea of Pride being canceled – coming from myself as a gay man who lives his life constantly reminded of his gayness – brought to light the importance of thinking about it beyond June,’ adds Leon. ‘I wanted to celebrate Pride with historical context but recontextualized by artists today.’ For the edit, Riemer selected a set of powerful demonstration slogans – shot between the 1970s and present day – on which six artists then put their own spin. Here, Riemer and the collaborating artists talk about the slogans, their historical context, and why they resonate for now and beyond.
Terrell Davis’ artwork, inspired by ‘Gay People In Solidarity With All Oppressed People’
‘The motivation behind my design was to speak to the light at the end of the tunnel,’ says Davis, an artist, designer and image creator based in Chicago. ‘So much of what we're experiencing and fighting for will not go down in vain, and in years to come the generations that succeed us will be able to feel the fruits of our labor and the boundless joy that comes from it.’
Chella Man’s artwork, inspired by ‘Trans Liberation Now’
‘My motivation behind creating this? To be alive and trans is a radical act,’ explains Man, a genderqueer, transmasculine artist. ‘The actuality of that statement is exactly why we need trans liberation now.’ Man has previously given a TedX talk, written for Condé Nast’s first queer publication Them, and launched a radically inclusive clothing line in collaboration with Opening Ceremony.
Aya Brown artwork, inspired by ‘Black Lesbians’
‘I wanted to find phrases that allowed the contemporary queer artists to create in a continuum,’ notes curator Matthew Riemer on the messages chosen for the edit. ‘In other words, these phrases all very much apply today; they have meaning in the here-and-now but, of course, the words come from different eras. Merging the past and present is part of liberation work – we have to remember, we have to internalize that the struggle is neverending.’
Andrew Thomas Huang artwork, inspired by ’Butch / Femme’
‘We don’t think of We Are Everywhere as a coffee-table book – it’s a history book,’ says Riemer in reference to the project that inspired the collection. ‘As we got deeper into queer history, the most incredible – the most empowering – aspect was that it all seemed connected. The person who organized an event where a photo was taken inspired another group to confront the issue, which raised the consciousness of a person who wrote about it, and so on.’
Bráulio Amado’s artwork, inspired by ‘Gay Pride Is Every F*****g Day’
‘[This is] my own take on the 1980s flyer from the now-gone Alex Bar,’ explains Amado, a Portuguese designer and illustrator based in New York, who co-runs art space SSHH in the East Village. ‘The poster is all text, so I wanted to keep it that way. I always wanted to do graffiti growing up but this kid in my school saw my sketches once and said my letters were “too gay”. It made me insecure to actually spray paint walls. Fast forward all these years, and here's me drawing typography for a fashion brand.’