About the Artist
For more information on Stevie’s research and artistic practices, visit her website at http://www.steviesays.com/about.html.
Photography documents – it makes note of – it bears witness. Photography asks us to look and to study. It can record that which is forgotten or make visible that which should never be erased. That is the purpose of this interruption.
Violence against transgender people is an epidemic; it has been labeled a “global genocide” (Kidd & Witten, 2008). The aggressions include familial disownment, homelessness, job discrimination, poverty, discrimination in shelters and in housing complexes, and higher risks of suicide. The conflux of disownment and discrimination places already vulnerable bodies into heightened spaces of danger that, given the intersections of racism, sexism, and transphobia, are most likely to affect transgender women of color. Every year since 2010 the homicide rates against transgender people have increased. Yet their names and their stories are left unseen by corporate media and, as a result, a good deal of the populace.
Don’t Turn Away seeks to interrupt the media silence and confront attendees through multi-modal photography, asking them to bear witness to the ways in which “normal” and maybe even “safe” spaces can be a battleground for those who are targeted by ignorance and fear. The interruption implores the looker to imagine a world that is hostile and even deadly to the existence of a human being because of their gender. This interruption denies erasure through using a razor blade to etch a history of violence into ethnographic photographs. Don’t Turn Away raises and scars the otherwise smooth surface of the print to impress upon the looker that spaces carry traumatic traces and our ignorance, our silence, is complicit in violence.