Kai Isaiah-Jamal, When we can’t say ‘gender’ let’s say ‘gentrification’. The things I didn’t tell my Mother before I left, 2018
65 × 65cm
Edition of 30, signed and numbered
Kai-Isaiah Jamal is a spoken word poet, performer, writer, model and trans visibility activist. For this edition, Jamal has explored access to language – specifically around how it is used to identify – and the way that queer voices are censored. The black-out poem revisits the artist’s childhood – a time when he was plucking at words and hoping they made sense. During this period, Jamal would often say that ‘London is gentrified, and I can’t deal with it, so I’m moving to Leeds’ when what he meant to say was ‘I’m trans, and gender is unsafe, so I’m seeking a comforting home in Leeds.’ The poem toys with the merging of these words to highlight the fear of explicitly speaking about queerness.
Jamal works alongside institutions and brands to bring a voice to the misrepresented or unrepresented QTIPOC. Working with Dazed, Vice, i-D, Stella McCartney, Tate, and with his own family collective BBZ, Jamal aims to prioritise the voice and safety of queer people of colour. His work disrupts cis-het normality and aims to diversify the literature sphere with young, working-class, queer, trans magic that he wishes he could have had access to growing up.
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