Invasive: Queer Kudzu
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Invasive proudly reclaims kudzu, an invasive plant species prolific in the South, as a symbol for Southern queer visibility and tenacity in the face of homophobic stereotypes that obscure our rich histories. Started by artist Aaron McIntosh, Invasive is traveling across the Southern states to gather stories of LGBTQ people through community workshops and from special archives. The Invasive workshops are a place for people to gather, share stories and make connections. As a drop-in style activity, participants can write their stories on cloth kudzu leaves while socializing with other contributors. Every story is valuable: contributors can simply write their name, a coming-out story, a major life event, a romantic encounter or any queer story they wish to share. Allies are also welcome to contribute stories of support. For participants who want to add photographs, memorabilia or typed stories to their leaf, there will be a printer set-up to scan and print these on cloth. All materials and tools will be provided for making the kudzu stories, including fabrics, dye markers, quilting supplies and sewing machines. When finished, participants can have their photograph taken with their kudzu leaf, and these will be posted to the Invasive website and blog to document the individuals and communities that have contributed to the project. Eventually, these kudzu stories will form an overwhelming and undeniable mass of Southern queerness that will be exhibited at art centers and public events across the Southeast. Artist Bio Aaron McIntosh is a fourth-generation quilter, whose family’s working class background and domestic material culture figure large in his textile-based art practice. He holds a BFA from the Appalachian Center for Craft and a MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. His exhibition record includes numerous solo and group exhibitions, including Queer Threads: Crafting Identity & Community at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art in New York, and most recently Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles. McIntosh currently lives in Baltimore, MD, and teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art as a Professor in the Fiber Department.