While for all women, our sexuality, gender variance, gender exploration, and body love is viewed by many as residing in the margins, on the fringe and shamed, I work to produce truths of how the butch/queer/nonman/being- “me”- labors to learn, to wonder, to survive, to maneuver, to birth and to celebrate body. With my work I offer an access point for viewers to investigate how sensory, spirit, environment and memory are recalled in the body.
As a hybrid artist and writer, my story compels the aspects of my artistic practice, in which I question my own authenticity and prove that identity is not static, but enacted, forced, shaped, influenced, evolved and changing, as we peel the layers of cemento smeared over our ever growing walls. I break into the walls which I have erected to protect myself from outside opposition such as homophobia, transphobia, cis-heteronormativity, colonization, sexism, rape, patriarchy and violence. I do not claim to know how or what process is right, but I do know that it is through my use of accessing blood memory, living memory, listening and documenting, I am able to create narrative imagery to claim as identity - for at least the moments it takes me to create them.
In my most current workin progress, Painted Red, a hybrid graphic memoir, I return to my past life, when I didn’t have the tools to understand why opposition existed. Born into the delegitimizing forces of colonization, I aim to highlight the various trajectories I traveled, seeking “worth.” During my process, fingering through scene by scene, I am reminded of the laboring hours, days and years I have spent and still spend rebuilding, repairing, reclaiming, examining and differentiating what is real and what is a trigger, a scar, another brick, in my life’s journey toward identity and gender. My work engages me, the subject and researcher, in the transitional time travel beyond lifetimes, forward and back, of identity, while also exploring how said subject embodies their body, in the present moment, on it’s spectrum.
I am a lesbian, queer, woman story maker. My work manifests itself as drawings, chapters, and poems. My work is a continuation and evolution of the conversations started by the Chicana movement in art and literature, now infused by latinx, transfeminism, intersectionality, and queer politics and resistance. As a cultural producer, I am driven by a sense of urgency to record and create queer visual and literary work as a continuous reflection and questioning of self-representation, aiming at discovering (and recovering) the history, dynamics, and complexities of relationships with others, self, memory and future.
My work demands that sexuality, gender and our bodies are crucial players in health, existence, spirituality, strength, etc., worthy to be studied, examined, and honored.
As an evolution of the Xicana/e movement in art and literature, now infused by latina/e transfeminism, intersectionality, queer politics, culture and resistencia, Anel I. Flores’ 25 year creative career has manifested as poetry, fiction, graphic memoir and paintings. Their creative process oscillates between disciplines in search of ancestral healing, present day joy, gender and bodily autonomy, and the re-centering of Latina/e, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ Womyn, Femmes and Gender Non-Binary folks. Through the principles of Participatory-Action-Research and deep listening, Flores’ work is an access point for viewers to engage against binary thought and into dreams of a world where we live at our fullest. Flores holds their MFA in Creative Writing and is author of forthcoming novel, Curtains of Rain with Jaded Ibis Press (Fall 2024,) Lambda Literary Award nominated book, Empanada: A Lesbiana Story en Probaditas, and chapbooks Behind the Book-Bag and La Fea. Among various publications, Flores’ work can be found in Camino Real, Fifth Wednesday, RiverSedge, Entre Guadalupe y Malinche Anthology, Queer Spiritualities, Rooted: A Queer Women of Color Anthology, El Mundo Zurdo, The Brillantina Project, Sinister Wisdom, This City Is A Poem, Raspa Magazine, OutInSA, Iungo Arts, Lodestar Quarterly, Pitkin Literary Review and La Voz de Esperanza. Her play Empanada has been produced regularly since 2002 throughout the country. Her visual art most recently can be found in the exhibition Nuestra Delta Magica with the NYFA and previously at TransAmerican at the McNay Museum, Tex Pop Museum and Centro de Artes. During her 30 year career as an artist, Flores’ work has been showcased and published in and at over 100 venues. Their awards include the Mellon’s Foundation Democratizing Racial Justice Artists in Residence Award, the Radical Imagination Catalyst for Change Award, Distinguished Writer in Residence at OLLU, Participatory Action Research Project Fellow with SFA, the Catalyst for Change Award, Women’s Advocate of the Year, Nebrija Creadores Award from the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares in Madrid, Spain, Chingona in Literature, Ancinas Award at Squaw Valley, NALAC Fund for the Arts, the Accion Women Inspiring Women, Yellow Rose Educator Award, and the Mentorship Leadership Award. Flores is co-founder of Queer Voices Speak Out, Co-Founder of LezRideSA, and a member of the San Antonio Mayor’s LGBTQIA Task Force. She served as Co-Reviewer and Co-Committee Member of El Mundo Zurdo Conference, board Member of Macondo Writers Workshop, the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, San Antonio Youth Literacy, Pride Center San Antonio, to name a few. She is currently in the process of completing her graphic memoir, Pintada de Rojo and the Spanish translation of Empanada by Dr. Mariana Romo-Carmona.
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