Torrent Tea: Queer Space and Photographic Futures

Artists:  Texas Isaiah | E. Jane | Devin N. Morris | Rafia Santana
Curator: Ashley Stull Meyers

On view: January 13 – February 25, 2017

About the Exhibition:

king-texas-ca-jpgTorrent Tea is a group exhibition of artists of color catalyzing digital space as medium and message. The featured works, all maintaining a strong presence on the web or other digital arena, make political hay from the significance of black joy, excellence, world making, and sexuality. The age of social media has facilitated a welcome autonomy for globally prevalent images of Blackness and Queerness in America. Viral snaps of queer people of color are celebrated for their visual heralding of difference in gender, sexuality and contribution to popular culture.

morris-nyla-at-16The included digital and material photographs stand in stark contrast to the ones that linger from fictionalized caricatures, and images expressly formatted for commodification. The artists in Torrent Tea instead establish digital space as their institution of choice for considering and circulating portraits of Blackness and Queerness. The results depict the interpretations of each as expansive, empowered, and unconcerned with the aforementioned gazes. Through this community driven methodology, these practices have taken back the medium of photography from a canon that has historically neglected their participation.

This exhibition is guest curated by Ashley Stull Meyers.


Related Public Programs:

All public programs are free, open to the public, and take place at Newspace (1632 SE 10th Ave), unless otherwise noted.

* Opening reception: Friday, January 13, 6:00-8:00pm

* The Slowness: A lecture by Dr. Kemi Adeyemi: Thursday, January 26, 6:30-8:00pm. This lecture by Dr. Kemi Adeyemi (University of Washington), explores how black queer women mobilize slowness as an aural and embodied technique of resisting life under neoliberalism, when speed and efficiency reign.

* Bodies of Werk: A conversation moderated by Bart Fitzgerald: Saturday, February 25, 4:00-6:00pm. This discussion, moderated by artist Bart Fitzgerald, seeks to explore the shrouded spirituality at play on the dance floor of black queer communities. The conversation will draw upon works by Fitzgerald and those in Torrent Tea, as well as the 1998 text by E. Patrick Johnson Feeling the Spirit in the Dark: Expanding Notions of the Sacred in the African-American Gay Community.

Stay tuned for future public programs at


Lindsay Comstack, “Best Photography Exhibitions of Winter 2017,”  American Photo, January 20, 2017.

Antwaun Sarget, “Four Artists Explore Black Queer Sexuality on the Internet,” The Creators Project, February 13, 2017.

Roula Seikaly, “Defying Stereotypes, One Post at a Time,” Aperture Blog, February 24, 2017.

Gallery Information:

Address: 1632 10th Ave, Portland, OR.
Gallery hours:
Monday – Thursday 10:00am-10:00pm
Friday – Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm.
T: 503.963.1935 | W:

Social: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

For press inquiries, contact Newspace Curator Yaelle S. Amir at


 Support generously provided by:

Images [top-bottom]: Texas Isaiah, Matthew, Ivy, Davia, SPULU + Kelly, 2016, archival inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist and Swagger Like Us (San Francisco); Devin N. Morris, Nyla at 16, 2016, archival inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.