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Art & Culture

Black Queer Miami History Celebrated in Unique Exhibition

  • Craig Miller
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  • May 1, 2023
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  • 3 minute read
  • |
Black Queer Miami History Celebrated in Unique Exhibition
Key Takeaways
  • "Give Them Their Flowers" is an exhibition at the Little Haiti Cultural Center Art Gallery in Miami, honoring the city's Black queer history.
  • The exhibition features the work of Miami artists Vanessa Charlot, Kendrick Daye, Woosler Delisfort, Hued Songs, and Loni Johnson.
  • Curated by Nadege Green and Marie Vickles, the exhibition took around two years to complete and focuses on the lives of Black LGBTQ+ Miamians over the age of 45.
  • The exhibition seeks to address the historical silence surrounding the city's Black LGBTQ+ community and to celebrate the lives of the individuals featured.
  • "The Repast," an installation by Loni Johnson, provides a space for visitors to grieve and celebrate the lives of departed Black LGBTQ+ individuals.
  • The exhibition will remain on view until April 23 and has been celebrated as a homecoming for Black LGBTQ+ Miami.

A groundbreaking exhibition, “Give Them Their Flowers,” has opened its doors at the Little Haiti Cultural Center Art Gallery, presenting a unique and overdue tribute to Miami’s Black queer history.

Combining historical research, artifacts, oral histories, video, and archival imagery, the exhibition showcases the work of Miami artists Vanessa Charlot, Kendrick Daye, Woosler Delisfort, Hued Songs, and Loni Johnson.

Curated by journalist and community historian Nadege Green, and Marie Vickles, director of education at the Pérez Art Museum and curator in residence at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, the project took around two years to complete.

It focuses on the lives of Black LGBTQ+ Miamians over the age of 45, who shared their stories to fill the gaps left by scarce historical records.

Imagining Miami as a Black Queer Space

The exhibition relies on the imagination of the artists involved to correct the visual historical record of Black queerness.

One such example is the textured collages created by Kendrick Daye, which feature queer celebrities like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Josephine Baker, and Phil Harris, who performed in Miami.

The exhibition’s final artistic element is a feature by Hued Songs, which includes an excerpt from a commissioned performance at the Historic Hampton House.

Curated by journalist and community historian Nadege Green, and Marie Vickles, director of education at the Pérez Art Museum and curator in residence at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, the project took around two years to complete.

Giving Visibility to Queer Black Narratives

As the first exhibition of its kind in Miami, “Give Them Their Flowers” seeks to address the historical silence surrounding the city’s Black LGBTQ+ community.

The project began before the current political climate in Florida, which has seen increased censorship and challenges to Black history and queer history.

The exhibition aims to celebrate the lives of the individuals featured and to demonstrate the significance of community and place, especially as gentrification poses a threat to neighborhoods like Little Haiti.

The Repast: A Space to Grieve and Celebrate

The gallery features “The Repast,” an installation by Loni Johnson, which provides a space for visitors to grieve and celebrate the lives of departed Black LGBTQ+ individuals.

Inspired by the tradition of Black homegoing services, the memory space allows for the sharing of stories and memories in a community setting.

“Give Them Their Flowers” will remain on view at the Little Haiti Cultural Center Art Gallery until April 23.

The exhibition was made possible through the generous support of Maven Leadership Collective and the University of Miami’s Center for Global Black Studies.

The event has attracted hundreds of visitors and has been celebrated as a homecoming for Black LGBTQ+ Miami.

Craig Miller

Craig Miller

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