Together Apart

September 15th, 2020 by

Together Apart is a loosely formed collective of 2S/Indigiqueer artists, writers and performers that followed out of the Spring 2019 Together Apart, Queer Indigeneities 2S/Indigiqueer Symposium, inspired by the Two-Spirit Cabarets held at grunt during the early 90s. With a flexible format of membership, Together Apart uses itself as a mobilizing point to pool skills and resources that can be adaptive to ideas, projects and partnerships as they come. By operating through grunt gallery with Project Curator Whess Harman (Carrier Wit’at), the collective is able to anchor itself and its projects within a stable and intuitive organizing body while retaining agency over programming decisions and outcomes. The project reflects the widely interdisciplinary nature that inherently follows organizing around the identities that fall within the cross-section of both queer and Indigenous.

Projects for Together Apart are both on-going and forth-coming, and open to 2S/Indigiqueer community members for assistance in the conception and organization of  projects. Following the original symposium event, the Together Apart Zine, initially a publication made to go alongside the event, has extended now into a nine issue run gathering work from artists and writers from across Turtle Island. Adapted into a two-term peer mentorship model, the Together Apart Zine has been edited both by writer Brandi Bird (Cree, Saulteaux and Metis) and following with Kaya Joan (Jamaican/ Vincentian, Kanien’kehá:ka). Through the course of the nine issues, over 30 queer, Indigenous and Afro-Indigenous creators have contributed to either the zine or its accompanying launch events and partnerships.

Going forward, Together Apart is seeking avenues of digital projects both in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in efforts to be accessible to queer Indigenous folks beyond urban spaces. These projects are grounded in an ethos of for us/by us as a way of better expressing queer Indigenous identities in all its multiplicity while prioritizing solidifying platforms in which queer and Indigenous creators have opportunities to build their practices with and alongside one another.

Images: Untitled by Kaya Joan; Issue 5 cover by Lacie Burning; Issue 4 interior art by Jaime Blankinship.

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