Meet our grantee partner, Annalise Ophelian!

Grantee partner Annalise Ophelian and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, the subject of Ophelian’s documentary, MAJOR!, discuss the film and what it meant to receive support from Astraea.

Today, we are pleased to introduce you to filmmaker and 2015 Global Arts Fund recipient, Annalise Ophelian!

Annalise Ophelian is an award-winning filmmaker and the producer/director of the documentary about Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, MAJOR!. She is a white, queer-identified cis woman, psychologist, and consultant whose work includes Diagnosing Difference (2009).

Miss Major is a formerly incarcerated Black trans elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years. She is a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and a survivor of Attica State Prison, and previously worked as the Executive Director of Astraea grantee partner Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) based in San Francisco.

In the video above, Ophelian and Miss Major discuss MAJOR! and what it meant to receive support from Astraea.

Learn more about Annalise Ophelian and Miss Major.

Yaneris Gonzáles Gómez

Yaneris Gonzáles Gómez is a long time Dominican activist who states that her biggest achievement is to become an artist and social justice activist as a way to resist the multiple oppressions that impact her reality and her multiple identities: being a woman, lesbian, black and poor.

Yaneris Gonzáles Gómez is a long time Dominican activist. She states that her biggest achievement is to become an artist and social justice activist as a way to resist the multiple oppressions that impact her reality and her multiple identities: being a woman, lesbian, black and poor. Yaneris has created from a place of resistance, from her experience as belonging to a rural and marginalized community, from her own survival. She has published her graphic design in calendars around issues of HIV, women’s rights, violence and safe abortions. She’s also a poet and has published several poems in the D.R. Her work was recently highlighted in the publication titled “Transatlantic Feminisms: Women and Gender Studies in Africa and the Diaspora.” She also had a solo show in Santo Domingo titled “Trazos de Ellas” honoring the voices of black women who have deeply inspired her.

UCT: The Trans Collective

The Trans Collective emerged from a void in the decolonial project at the University of Cape Town, home of the student movement Rhodes Must Fall.

The Trans Collective emerged from a void in the decolonial project at the University of Cape Town, home of the student movement Rhodes Must Fall. 2015 works include the complete degendering of a main campus’s bathroom, replacing signs with gender neutral signage; a host of well attended events: panel discussions and talks; as well as hosting a campaign to run for the Student Representative Council. The Collective often produces content via long form prose on its Facebook page, which serves to intensify, strengthen and sophisticate the discourse surrounding black queer trans people in post-Apartheid Apartheid South Africa. The Collective is most well-known for their 2016 disruption, shutdown, and capture of the Rhodes Must Fall exhibition, Echoing the Voices from within for tokenising trans people, using their signature of nude radical protest – a bold statement for trans bodies which are sites of wars, both internally and from external forces.

Tiona Nekkia McClodden

Tiona Nekkia McClodden is a visual artist and filmmaker whose work explores and critiques issues at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and social commentary.

Tiona Nekkia McClodden is a visual artist and filmmaker whose work explores and critiques issues at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and social commentary. McClodden’s interdisciplinary approach traverses documentary film, experimental video, sculpture, and sound installations. Themes explored in McClodden’s films and works have been re-memory and more recently narrative biomythography. Tiona Nekkia McClodden has exhibited and screened work at various institutions and museums in the U.S and internationally including the Institute of Contemporary Art-Philadelphia, Art Toronto’s VERGE Video program, @RAUMERWEITERUNGSHALLE in Berlin, MOMA PS1, New York, Kansai Queer Film Festival in Osaka and Kyoto, Japan; and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. In 2015, she created Af·fixing Ceremony: Four Movements For Essex, an online project commissioned by Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art, commemorating poet Essex Hemphill on the 20th anniversary of his death. McClodden has been awarded the 2016 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, attended the 2016 Sommerakademie Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, Switzerland, The 2016 Ossian Arts Research Fellowship under the Jain Family Institute in New York, NY, attended the 2015 Flaherty Film Seminar as a Philadelphia Fellow, been awarded the 2009 Leeway Transformation Award, the Philadelphia Film and Video Association Finishing fund grant for both Bumming Cigarettes (2014) and black./womyn (2009). More recently she received a 2015 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.

Sokari Ekine & Gathoni Blessol

Over the past three years, Sokari’s accomplishments as a photographer have included an exploration of Haitian Vodoun through the series “Spirit Desire”, which involved spending extended periods in spiritual communities in Haiti documenting ceremony, ritual, and everyday living.

Over the past three years, Sokari’s accomplishments as a photographer have included an exploration of Haitian Vodoun through the series “Spirit Desire.” This involved spending extended periods in spiritual communities in Haiti documenting ceremony, ritual, and everyday living. Sokari has also presented photographic essays addressing the environment, gender violence and portraiture in Haiti. Recently she participated in an digital exhibition at the Mckenna Museum of African American Art in New Orleans. In September 2016, she exhibited at the “Black Canvas” during the Black Feminisms Forum in Bahia, Brazil. In November 2016 Selections of her work were included in the 4th Biennale of Fine Art and Documentary Photography, Berlin, Germany. Also in November, writer, Alexis De Veaux presented on, “Spirit Desire,” at the Black Portraitures III Johannesburg, South Africa. Sokari’s work was used in “Blessed Bodies” testimonies of LGBTI in Nigeria as well as shown in a presentation, ‘Spirit Women,” at the Accra street festival in August 2016. In 2013 she co-edited the Queer African Reader, a groundbreaking work on African queer sexualities and gender expressions. In 2004 she founded the blog Black Looks, which holds a ten-year archive of essays and reports on LGBTIQ issues in Africa.

Shaylanna Luvme

Shaylanna Luvme is an artist and member of Black and Pink. She’s currently incarcerated in Auburn, New York.

Shaylanna Luvme is an artist and member of Black and Pink. She’s currently incarcerated in Auburn, New York. She states, “as of right now, my reality is incarceration. I write and draw about that, but I also write and draw about peace, love, friendships and pain.”

Las Nietas de Nonó

Sisters Lydela and Michelle Nonó are the creators of “Las Nietas de Nonó”, who will continue to develop the theater play titled “Ilustraciones de la Mecánica” in which they reflect on the history shared by poor black women subjected to forced mass sterilization, caesarean sections and other interventions that respond to the economic interests of the industrial medical complex in Puerto Rico.

Sisters Lydela and Michelle Nonó are the creators of “Las Nietas de Nonó.” They reside in the San Antón de Carolina neighborhood in Puerto Rico. From their own backyard, which houses the community space “Patio Taller,” they have been collaborating creatively and artistically. Their first theatre production was in 2011 and they have been creating ever since.

East African Visual Artists

East African Visual Artists, is an LGBTI organization based in Uganda fully committed to the documentation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) and sex workers’ activities, real life stories from individuals and organizations through video, photography, audio recordings, graphic illustration, art exhibitions and archiving.

East African Visual Artists, is an LGBTI organization based in Uganda fully committed to the documentation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) and sex workers’ activities, real life stories from individuals and organizations through video, photography, audio recordings, graphic illustration, art exhibitions and archiving. Its goal is to build support for causes, influence communities to take action and ensure policy commitments are translated into action that reach intended beneficiaries. East African Visual Artists’ work affirms visibility, dignity and rights of LGBTI, sex workers, youth, women and people living with HIV and AIDS.

Kiyan Williams

Kiyan Williams (pronouns they/them) is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work explores Black queer subjectivity.

Kiyan Williams (pronouns they/them) is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work explores Black queer subjectivity. Based in New York City, they have performed across the country and internationally at venues including: Dixon Place (NY), JACK Theater (NY), La Mama Experimental Theater Club (NY), The Public Theater (NY), SFMOMA (CA), SOMArts (CA), Bing Concert Hall (CA), and Orpheum Theater (Graz, Austria). As an artist engaged in the Black Lives Matter movement Kiyan has facilitated healing spaces in New York, Detroit, Denver, and Cleveland. Using Afro-Diasporic cultural expressions they co-create cyphers that allow Black people to mourn and grieve violence as well as celebrate Black life. Kiyan studied performance theory and practice at Stanford University, where they developed work with Cherríe Moraga, Aleta Hayes, Anne Carlson, and Guillermo Gómez-Peña / La Pocha Nostra. Kiyan is an alum of the EMERGENYC Performance Fellowship at the Hemispheric Institute at NYU and the Create Dangerously writing intensive at the Obie-winning JACK Theater in Brooklyn. They are a Trans Justice Funding Project grant recipient. Most recently an excerpt of their performance project Unearthing was featured in the 25th annual HOT! Festival at Dixon Place, the world’s longest running queer performance festival.

Jova Lynne

Jova Lynne is a multidisciplinary artist and educator who is currently an MFA candidate at Cranbrook Academy of Art where she is studying Video/Installation art in the photography department.

Jova Lynne is a multidisciplinary artist and educator. Jova is currently an MFA candidate at Cranbrook Academy of Art where she is studying Video/Installation art in the photography department. Jova has shown works in New York, Oakland and Detroit and recently completed a 4-month artist residency program at Talking Dolls Studios. Jova is a co-creator of collaborative arts based projects such as the Black Survival Mixtape, Black Artists Meet-Up Detroit and WOAH collective. As an educator Jova has an extensive background in facilitating arts-as-social change programs with young people. Jova is the former Youth Arts Manager at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts where for 3 years she facilitated collaborations between youth, incarcerated persons and local grassroots organizations. Most recently, Jova was a teaching artist-in-residence with Detroit Future Schools.