Lives and works in New York.
Tourmaline is a black transgender artist-activist working with filmmaking and writing. She meticulously uncovers activists’ histories, restating their significance. By queering archives, she produces powerful parallel renderings of history which have the potency to overthrow, or at least alter, the dominant narratives. Coming from an activist background herself, her thoughtfulness and caring approach towards elder long-time activists makes their histories come alive. They are commemorated in a humble, touching way that renders their larger‑than‑life lives even more striking. A polymath researcher of an artist, Tourmaline dissects and stiches back fragments of history, like quilts of animated, embodied rags. In her short film Salacia a black trans woman, Mary Jones, the historic figure of a prosecuted marginal figure of the 1820s, is played by trans actress Rowin Amone (in one of her interviews, she states that trans women are at the bottom pole of society). Salacia, the Roman saltwater deity, echoes the trauma of the transoceanic slave trade. A carnal monument in the pedestal of a goddess. At the same time, Salacia the film is soaked in sensory pleasure, making us salivate for an achromous time where identities come in mythical proportions and all physical cues like colour, sound and texture are heightened to make us incapable of escaping the thematic premise of this gem of a film. ‘We Can Be Anything We Want to Be’ as the penetrating presence of Jones, aiming to liberate us, conditions us to believe.
16mm, digital video, sound, 6’4’’
Courtesy of the artist and Chapter NY, New York