Black Lesbians in the 80s-2000s @ Lesbian Herstory Archives & The Birthing of Black Lesbian DIY Fest
“In the Fall & Winter of 2013 Sherley C. Olopherne curated 3 zines based from materials from subject files on African Ancestral Lesbians at The Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn, NY. The zines inspired a gathering solely for self identified black lesbians called Black Lesbian DIY Fest which was first held at the Lesbian Herstory Archives and is now in its 3rd season in NYC. Sherley C. Olopherne will detail the process of choosing and organizing the materials, disseminating the zines nationally and globally between 2013-2015 and finally organizing an event around the zines called Black Lesbian DIY Fest as part of The Lesbian Herstory Archive’s 40th anniversary year long celebration in 2014.”
Sherley C. Olopherne
As an artist Sherley C. Olopherne strongly believes her social responsibility lies in the realms of visual representation to engage all communities in a dialogue about what an immigrant, a black lesbian, various marginalized communities look like. She sees photography/art as simply telling one’s story orally, visually, textually, and honestly. She says: “I often hesitate to label myself an artist. Photography for me is a very selfish action. I simply wanted to interact with my communities in a heartfelt & meaningful way and found all avenues too distant to what I wanted to say, which is I/we exist, us black lesbians, us black women, us poor women, us women who wail unabashedly…us folks who are simply too “dirty” for the crisp mainstream hetero-normative society.’
Black Lesbian DIY Fest, established in 2014 is gathering event for self identified black lesbians to showcase independent/small press books, zines, art, films and other DIY based items. BLDF espouses the “do it yourself” movement, promoting black lesbians to be in community, share skills, ideas, and tangible products. The 1st Black Lesbian DIY Fest was held at The Lesbian Herstory Archives as part of its yearlong 40th Anniversary celebration in 2014.
Sherley will be speaking on day 3 of the conference