Artwork > Invasive Queer Kudzu

Invasive Species
Digital collage

Engulfing hills, trees and old buildings in a dense stranglehold, the kudzu vine colonizes and alien landscapes emerge. An “invasive” species, kudzu taps into our fears of otherness, connecting it in many ways to perceptions of queerness. Such interspecies anxiety is not wholly unlike the persistent fear that a “homosexual agenda” could sweep across the nation if left unchecked. Today, polls show us that many parts of the U.S. are “naturally” moving towards gay marriage equality and expanded rights for LGBTQ people. Yet, the land of kudzu is often portrayed as a place of entrenched homophobia. Lost in this politicized fray are the lives, memories, stories and histories of Southern queers and their ingenuity contending with the status quo.

Invasive, a project for Southern queers and their allies, subverts the negative characterization of invasive species and uses queer kudzu as a symbol of visibility, strength and tenacity in the face of presumed “unwantedness”. Traveling across the Southern states, the project will facilitate the collection of stories of LGBTQ people through workshops at community centers and historical documents from archives. Drawing on the preeminence of quilting in Southern folkways and the work of creator Aaron McIntosh, the artist will embed these stories, photographs, and archive documents into quilted leaves and vines. Eventually forming an overwhelming and undeniable mass of Southern queerness, the kudzu will be exhibited at art centers and public events across the Southeast.