Aaran Sian (they/them)
BIO: I am an artist, designer and spatial practitioner working at the intersection of queerness, urban equity, race, identity, social justice and community engagement. My work is closely linked to how the city can be created, (re)appropriated and (re)claimed through the lens of racialised, Queer and Trans narratives and collective/personal identities. Cities have a long history of violently excluding queerness and transness,
particularly at the intersections of race and ethnicity. My creative practice subverts architectural methodologies to act as a commentary on city making and challenge the white/heterosexist narratives of space to envision a queer-ed and decolonial reading of the future. I am influenced by my experience navigating the world at different scales as a Queer, Nonbinary, South Asian person, and I am deeply inspired by all those in the QTIPOC community who are continually re-writing what it means to exist, against what can feel like a myriad of both endless struggles and joys. My creative practices span mediums of participatory art and design, visual art, illustration and installation art. My work is process-led and collaborative, involving holding space for expression in different manners and carving out space for community connections in the city. I believe that Queer and Trans people, particularly Queer and Trans People of Colour are constantly rewriting what it means to exist, live and thrive. These perspectives on what a queer future could be are beautifully transcendent, liberating and full of queer joy. They break barriers and disrupt the white and hetero-normative flows of society to create a layered and queer-ed reading of the world around us, this is the soul of my artistic expression.
‘QTIPOC Futurisms of Croydon’
FROM THE ARTIST: ‘This piece of art expresses the collective stories, narratives and a vision of a QTIPOC future through the lens of the QTIPOC (Queer, Trans, Intersex, People of Colour) community in Croydon. The project has been a collaborative journey, from 1-1 walks around Croydon, collective collage sessions to express QTIPOC narratives and dreams for the future and those who physically inputted in the artwork. The walks I went on with 5 different QTIPOC’s in Croydon were a base for the artwork: walking throughout Croydon, talking about queerness, transness and the experience of being a person of colour in the UK, already felt like a radical act of taking up space in the city in our own ways.
The nature, roots and vines that swirl through the piece are based on these walks, showing how the existence of QTIPOC’s flow throughout the city. They also represent fluid and malleable infrastructure, expressing how the community is resilient, that we build our own spaces to thrive and this flows through the existing fabric of the city, it breaks it apart, twists it open, but flows effortlessly. Sometimes hidden, sometimes visible. The references to nature express the fluidity of identity and connectivity, but also how we are part of the essential essence of the universe; all different, but connected to one another. The faces are an expression of people in the community who have inputted into this project. These differ in genders, races and identities. Not all are able to be visible, a reality for many intersections across QTIPOC identity, this is expressed through the veil that partially hides a character and elements that hide and overlap. This piece of artwork is a collage where elements break, merge and link together – just the way the artwork has been made. It is made up of different people’s input and stories, in various different ways. The fabric boards the piece is made up of were found on the street, this acts as a metaphor for how QTIPOC’s reclaim the city and how this art expresses how we embed, indent and (re)insert ourselves into the fabric of the city, through all the actions, inputs and participation from the collaborators – an act of resistance, community and joy. Collaborators (all Queer and Trans People of Colour who have a connection to Croydon), this artwork couldn’t have happened without their beautiful involvement, which spanned walks and conversations through Croydon, collage sessions and collaboratively working on the artwork/inputting, thank you Ash Appadu, Ashwin Caffery, Fifi Evelyn, Icy , Jawadat Bashorun , Keji Kam, Shumi and Y.’