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    Feminists to Feministas: Women of Color in Prints and Posters

    femA new exhibit of rare posters is now being featured at the GLBT History Museum until July 4. “Feminists to Feministas: Women of Color in Prints and Posters” contains 29 works of print art from the 1970s to the 1990s that visually trace the power of lesbians, bisexuals, and transwomen of color who rallied for sexual freedom and economic justice in the fight against racism, sexism, and imperialism.

    The prints were specifically chosen to illuminate the role of women of color in the evolving cultural messaging of queer prints and posters. In choosing the images, Co-curators Amy Sueyoshi and Lisbet Tellefsen traced both the changing aesthetic of posters and their significance for queer women of color.

    Tellefsen told the San Francisco Bay Times: ”Posters offer such a rich lens through which to look at our history: providing a visual timeline of our culture, our struggles, our aesthetics and more. I’ve spent this past year immersed in the GLBT Historical Society’s poster collection and am amazed at its breadth—and even diversity. Their collection is a tremendous time capsule and this exhibit, ‘Feminists to Feministas,’ offers just a tiny peek of what this collection has to offer.”

    Sueyoshi praised the collection as well as her colleague.

    “We have this impressive poster collection at the GLBT Historical Society, and it wasfem3 fem2 incredible to see women of color activism actually unfolding in each of the images as we began to make our selections for the exhibit,” she said to the San Francisco Bay Times.

    “It was such an honor for me to work with Lisbet,” Sueyoshi added. “She is currently digitizing the poster collection at the GLBT Historical Society and has a tremendous collection of posters herself. A good portion of the posters on exhibit are, in fact, from her personal collection. The exhibit would never have come together without Lisbet, literally a walking encyclopedia of posters.”

    The distinctly political images defy conventional standards of femininity, speak out against legislative abuses that disproportionately affect communities of color, and celebrate the health, beauty, and creativity of queer African American, Latina, and Asian Pacific Islander women. Viewing the exhibit, you will feel the power of Audre Lorde, Kitty Tsui, and Pepper from BurLEZk, as well as the force of the activism of lesbians and gays against intervention in Central America. The exhibit even includes the dyke version of the seductive Calvin Klein underwear advertisements of the 1990s.

    The prints illustrate how women of color have created community and initiated change through the building of coalitions across ethnicity and gender for multi-issue organizing.

    “The GLBT Historical Society’s poster collection represents a remarkable time capsule of our communities’ history,” Tellefsen said. “The collection is vast in both depth and scope and visually chronicles much of our history: from arts & culture to sex, politics and beyond. I look forward to mining this rich collection for years to come and am excited to offer this small glimpse into the collection with our initial exhibit, ‘Feminists to Feministas.’”

    About the Curators

    Lisbet Tellefsen is an archivist, collector, and producer of more than her fair share of posters as the publisher of Aché: A Black Lesbian Journal, 1989-1995.

    Amy Sueyoshi is an historian and professor in Sexuality Studies and Race and Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University, currently the Associate Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, and author of Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi.

    For more information about this and other exhibits at the GLBT History Museum, please go to glbthistory.org/museum/