Art For the People Award: Sarah-Ji Rhee

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Sarah Ji,

It is an honor to take part in honoring the critical work you do for our movements. You are a one-woman library and your documentation tells stories that multimillion$ museums have failed to convey. Photos are very sacred artifacts, literally capturing the exact light of an instant. If you know me well, than you know I am sometimes weary of photography; the way it can prematurely memorialize us. But Sarah doesn't capture ghosts, but, rather, amplifies spirits that defy spacetime. These spirits exude affirmation in how far we've come (love) and yet remind us why our movement must continue (struggle).

As we enter a new era of privatization, information hoarding, and filtering, your labor in particular will resound with an importance far beyond what is immediately conceivable. But don't let that discourage you from taking some time off when you need it! :)

so thankful for you as well as all of the people who have been brought into my life through you, 

<3 bria

The Shrine of Lullabies

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"The Shrine of Lullabies" is a collection of animated digital altars based on the work of 3 musicians exploring themes of mental health and trauma related to constructs of gender. In collaboration with Red Bull Sound Select Presents: 30 Days in Chicago, the project seeks to affirm the power of visual arts and music working together to create uniquely spiritual experiences, even from unexpected genres such as animation, comics, pop, and rap.

Altar #1: For Expired IDs  (based on SweetSexySavage by Kehlani)

Altar #2: For Dead Flowers (based on Por Vida by Kali Uchis)

Altar #3: For Missed Calls (based on Telephone  by Noname)

On November 10, 2017, The Shrine of Lullabies was projected during the Chicago Arts District’s 2nd Fridays Gallery Night (Pilsen Art Walk) on the side of the Chicago Art Department building from a vacant lot. The installation sparked dialogue amongst pedestrians not only about the content of pieces, but also the utility of vacant spaces throughout the city.

Animation by bria royal
Video by Miles Royal
Projection by Alex Palma & Charlie Kim
Song by Kali Uchis performing Tyrant. (C) 2017 Virgin EMI Records, a division of Universal

The Shrine of Lullabies was on display as a full, interactive installation Monday, November 20, 2017 through Friday, November 24, 2017 at The Dojo. The opening reception was held Monday, November 20, 2017 and included a Digital Altar Building Workshop. Throughout the week, visitors of the space were encouraged to contribute to the installation by bringing in items related to each piece and placing them below the corresponding altar.


Things I Realized In June

June 2, 2017 - today I realized I love music. That may seem hella basic, but I'd never actually said that to myself until today #thingsirealizedinjune

June 6, 2017 - today I realized that telling myself I just need to wake up earlier is a fuckin dumb ass solution to some problems that are actually much more complex. #thingsirealizedinjune

June 19, 2017 - today I realized: 1) I (frfr) need to drink more water. 2) I live next to an incredible body of water 3) The significance of both of these statements seems to be growing exponentially with time 😐 #thingsirealizedinjune

June 30, 2017 - This month I realized I gotta move to a borderless, nationless, ownerless planet ASAP. I finished writing my first graphic novel while at the same time (& after record highs of hate mail lol) often questioned why I continue to share art with the world. I got hyped up on some @champagnepapi and decided I’d post this anyway, but did so also understanding that every single image in the universe resounds infinitely (literally) & who fuckin knows what its capable of out there. Again, more astrophysics in our abolitionist and decolonial frameworks, please. this concludes #thingsirealizedinjune thanks, breezy.

Mama's Day

I spend a lot of time contemplating the effects that trauma has had on the way I produce art and tell stories. It took me a long time to realize that the traumas we endure are not solely our own, but are often generational. However, with this piece, I remind myself that we also pass down hxstories, rituals, generations of interdependent love, and community despite the distance, borders, and oceans that separate us, and I am really thankful to have those traditions.

Forward Together will be printing thousands of cards with this image and others to send to immigrant and Muslim mamas May 14 to show that they are loved and honor their resilience. You can write a card to be sent at OR send an e-card to your own mama at


much love to NIC Kay on their show Lil BLK by NIC Kay which is showing tonight at the Hamlin Park Fieldhouse as well as tomorrow afternoon. Working on this piece brought me a lot of joy & focus in a really scatter-minded week. <3

"In an experimental solo performance influenced by New York City gay/queer ballroom culture, live punk shows, butoh and praise dance, lil BLK tells the autobiographical story of a fairy boi, child of god, little black girl, performer and activist. Through the exploration of form, performer NIC Kay wrestles with the societal constraints placed on the black feminine body and the traps of being a black performer searching for freedom on the stage…in a beat."

You can cop a print on NIC's etsy:…/518016481/lil-blk-get-free-poster…
All proceeds go to Chicago and NY based orgs

8 ways to be present

There is an erasure happening within movement spaces to folks disabled by a society that fails to meet the necessities of their conditions/circumstances (often despite having ample, but not well-dispersed, resources to meet them). I believe this is largely due to an inability to "show up" in the not-diverse ways typically celebrated by our movements and a perceived lack of other options. I'm most focused on redefining what involvement looks like for myself, but fighting this erasure is a two way street that requires reciprocal, conscious effort from us as individuals and the community, aka "MOVE UP, MOVE UP":

- Movement communities have a responsibility for creating the conditions necessary for persons with chronic conditions, necessities, and otherwise undersupported circumstances (bodily, mental, or sensory; visible, invisible, or ignored) to MOVE UP as both activists and organizers. Work on it!

- Baes, here are 8 ways to MOVE UP in our movements when you cannot exactly "show up":

1. Organize in a space constructed to meet your needs, such as your home. (one of the reasons I started Paint & Drank!) Disrupt local spaces you naturally encounter, such as on your way to work.

2. Use art as a tool for cultural organizing. Our current popular culture has been built to affirm systems of oppression and needs revolutionizing. (For the People Artists Collective has been a space for me to do just that)

3. Recognize and affirm your self-care and healing as a necessary component of our community's healing - a super necessary piece of movement sustainability.

4. Do harm-reducing outreach (written and oral) to key people/stakeholders, sign petitions, and make donations to or raise money for campaigns when you have the capacity.

5. Advocate for more intersectional approaches to the issues you face. The Medical Industrial Complex especially exploits the black people and POC. These folk are too often left out of accessibility advocacy.

6. Participate in the strategic planning of actions. Ask me about this offline.

7. Amplify your needs to your community. Be consistent, unapologetic, and invite others to amplify theirs as well. This helps accessibility checking become a habit in our community, and others who don't have the opportunity to speak their needs are likely to have some overlap with you.

8. Focus on mobilizing others in cases where you cannot be present. Start with close friends and family. Telling others to participate even though you can't does NOT make you a hypocrite.

I'm just brainstorming (feel free to add), but for now, just know that everyone is useful and that there are concrete steps we can all take to contribute.

Ps. this .gif is the animated version of a piece in a mini manifesto i've been working on. more on that l8r. 


Bresha Meadows, 

You will not be erased into the system. We will not allow it. We will not lose you.

Hold Space For Black People

A space is an active environment. A space is political. A space is the sum of the conditions set in motion by the people who inhabit it. A space facilitates action and prompts reaction. Space is necessary to thrive. A space designed for black people to truly exist in is our most urgent need. Such a space won't appear on its own. 

Many have asked what they/we can do for me/us this week. My ask is to hold space for black people in whatever capacity you are able to. That means black people self-determining our availability without capitalism's permission. That means black people shouting their stories into the lands. That means hearing those stories from actual black people. That means time set aside for unconditional affirmation, listening to our needs, inviting people over to build. That means embodying and adopting the revolutionary practices we seek to become our everyday lifestyle. That means space for black people. 

That means non-black allies seriously asking themselves whether or not they are truly upholding space for black people or simply trying to 'behold' space. My healing is not summoned to be content for your bewilderment, your newsfeed, your gossip, your consumption...

My blackness is super salient right now. I want that to always be a beautiful feeling. That will require revolution - a total rebuild. My body, my mind, my emotions - my healing - will be a part of that. 

How to Make Art with Ghetto Nails

"How to Make Art with Ghetto Nails" - basically a tribute to the daily rebellions against respectability politics, "low" arts, and anyone who gets asked how they do _X_ with "those" nails - answer: just like everyone else, except with 10x more magic. 

story and animation by bria royal

music by deadxbeat

#HandsOffJoseJuan Meme Making Workshop

‪#‎HandsOffJoseJuan‬: Thank you to everyone who came out to For the People Artists Collective's MEME & GIF Making for Liberation workshop. Here are just a couple of the memes community members made today in support of Jose Juan, who is currently in sanctuary at University Church Chicago, where we gathered today. Keep up with Organized Communities Against Deportations's page to learn more and to see more of the visuals that were created today. And shout out to my co-facilitator Monica Trinidad.

Sign Jose Juan's petition here.

An Open Affirmation to Black Girls & Femmes Embarrassed by Their Magic...

An open affirmation to black girls & femmes embarrassed by their magic:

I know you understand that society has made a great effort to make you invisible, which is why we hold you up so high when your magic beams. Of your resulting embarrassment, we say "society taught you to react this way." And you are left ashamed of your internalized oppression, or collude to silence.

I affirm that your uneasiness is valid. There are lots of reasons why, sometimes, you want to tell your audience to stop applauding. Maybe you're not sure if they're clapping for the reasons you're performing. Maybe it’s the wrong audience. Maybe you weren't performing at all, wondering who built a stage beneath your feet and where these people came from.

The same society that taught you to "react this way" armed you with an oppositional gaze. In your "embarrassment," you interrogate the body politics of display, and that's a kind of autonomy that you very much deserve. We can manage to encourage shameless visibility while simultaneously respecting shameless, self-protecting, OR simply self-loving, privacy.

Your magic is foremost yours to hold and behold. You have the right to control where it flows and who it touches, who gets to see or experience it.

We love you and we want to love you in front of everyone. But only if you want us to.

(pretty please!)

.GIFts from bria royal

This blog is dedicated to all the little animated doodles that I've started, but that never made it to full-fledged projects. I also need to make more art for my self-caring/carefreeness. So this is what holding myself accountable looks like. Note that much like myself, some of the Things I post here may remain infinitely incomplete, But perhaps seeing my healing process can inspire yours. Nonetheless, in our difficult times, my art is all I have to give. These are my .GIFts to you. Enjoy.