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Queer Ecology Hanky Project

As queer printmakers, artists, and nature freaks, we began the Queer Ecology Hanky Project as a way to bring together our many interests. Inviting artists to explore queer ecology—an area of inquiry which unites the study of biology, environment, and sexuality with a framework of queer theory—has given us windows into divergent possibilities for gender and sexuality, models of resilience and resistance in a world that feels increasingly bleak. In recent years, queers of all genders and proclivities have expanded the definitions of the original gay hanky code—which emerged in the United States in the early 1970s, as a means for gay men to subtly communicate sexual desires—to include different bodies, identities, and activities. We love designing, printing, and distributing bandanas as wearable artwork, and a means to continue a queer communication of flagging, of finding affinity with plants, animals, mycelia, and each other.

In seeking artists and art for the project, we reached out to our intersecting networks of printmakers, artists, ecologists, zine makers, and herbalists, hoping the call for work would spread like mycelium growth. We created and shared a digital flier, and were fortunate to have the project amplified by a few online platforms with a wide reach. This resulted in a nice mix of artists we actively recruited and new-to-us strangers.The full collection speaks to the diversity of queer experiences.

One of the most exciting things about this project is that it is artwork intended for activation. We hope these hankies will accompany walks in the woods, accessorize outfits at queer dance parties, bundle up foraged mushrooms, and start conversations.
Relevant research areas: Contemporary

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