'DIGGING FOR BLACK TRANS LIFE' was streaming on 4:3 in October 2019
YOU ARE BEING LET INTO A SPACE
THIS SPACE WAS MADE FOR BLACK TRANS BODIES WHO WERE WRONGLY ARCHIVED OR NEVER ARCHIVED AT ALL
AN ARCHIVE IS SUPPOSED TO HOLD PROOF OF EXISTENCE
IT ERASED THEIR EXISTENCE
AFTER THEY DIED
AFTER THEY COULD NOT SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES
THE BLACK OCEAN WASHED THEM UP TO THIS PLACE
TO STORE THEM
TO CENTRE THEM
SO THAT THEY COULD SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES
YOU ARE ENTERING THEIR SPACE
YOU ARE ENTERING OUR SPACE
YOU MAY FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE
Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley is an artist working predominantly in animation, sound and
performance to communicate their experience as a Black Trans person. Their practice focuses
on recording the lives of Black Trans people, intertwining lived experience with fiction to
imaginatively retell Trans stories. Spurred on by a desire to meet buried bodies like theirs, their
work dreams of a Trans archive where Black Trans people could share their buried experiences.
Throughout history, Black queer and Trans people have been erased from the archives.
Because of this it is necessary not only to archive our existence, but also the many creative
narratives we have used and continue to use to share our experiences.
Relationship to lesbian identity:
I came to Lesbianism after having to fight for it. I fought myself. Others fought me to keep me away from it. Once I got close enough, and realised that the term "LESBIAN" could hold my being trans, I finally allowed myself to soak in terms like BAD ASS TRANS DYKE. When I think of Lesbianism, I think of Black Queer women who have layed the ground that we walk on. I am thankful to those who stood up and built platforms for us when no one else did, so that we can stand above the arms that continue to try and tear us down.