2022 NOV: KQED
In August, Valle joined the Queer Ancestors Project, an organization dedicated to providing young queer artists with free printmaking workshops, community building and resources about queer history. Valle will represent Queer Ancestors Project at BAQZF, sharing zines that incorporate some of their recent prints. Their work often includes flower and star motifs, symbolizing new pathways that form in the interconnectedness between queer individuals and their ancestors. In a panel discussion on the politics of zine making, they will also discuss the art form’s rich history and persistent punk essence.
2021 OCT: PRINTMAKING TODAY
I began the programme in part because the LGBTQ+ community has a limited visual record, or none at all, of significant events in our history, particularly in the histories of Queers of colour and transgender people. Just as photographs from your early life help to anchor personal memories, a visual record – even an imagined one – can bring historical events to life.
2021 JUL: LOCAL NEWS MATTERS
On the way to the second floor of Haight Street Art Center are rooms with additional artwork by printmaker Katie Gilmartin, who also directed the “Queer Ancestors Project” upstairs, which asks young queer artists to consider and render whom they see as their queer ancestors and the space between them. Gilmartin also has a series of imagined pulp paperback covers inspired by the city, giving the bay fog a sinister sentience and putting young women in precarious poses.
2020 MAR: SF AIDS FOUNDATION
Sen Lu, another Queer Ancestors Project member, said they were drawn to stories of queer Asian ancestry. “I didn’t have any models of queer Asian activism to look towards, especially historical queer Asian activism,” they said. “Through my research, I was able to learn about Phoenix Rising, which was one of the first Asian American and Pacific Islander lesbian newsletters in the Bay Area, established in 1984. I actually was able to meet one of the founders, Gisele Pohan, give her one of my prints, and hear more about her experiences.”
2019 APR: NORTH GATE RADIO, BERKELEY JOURNALISM
History is taught in school, but LGBTQ history mostly is not. The “Queer Ancestors Project” is a workshop in San Francisco for young artists. It hopes to uncover some forgotten histories, and create something beautiful out of what is found. Reporter Annie Berman spoke with the program’s artists and teachers to find out more.
2019 FEB: SF DATE BOOK
"Artists often move back in time for inspiration; they connect with ancestors in the process of creation. Queer people have queer ancestors, too, of course. But for a variety of reasons, the connections aren’t always so strong.Queer history, if it wasn’t outright suppressed, was never particularly well recorded until more recently. This is especially true when it comes to the visual record — particularly for queer people of color and transgender people. The Queer Ancestors Project changes this, one class at a time over several months, by connecting artists to the LGBTQ people who came before them"
2018 NOV: HORIZONS FOUNDATION
"One of the things that moves me most is seeing how each individual artist connects with their own particular queer ancestor. Whether it is because they trucked off to the GLBT History archives and read the full transcript of their queer ancestors or because they discovered the incredibly powerful emotional resonance in the lives of one of their queer ancestors – from having suicidal thoughts to having erotic orgasmic responses to all things in life – and creates art about that. This is not only about the physical art but how they figure out how to forge those connections."
2018 JUL: SF GATE
Chan says. “Queer culture has such a long history of resistance — resistance and resilience and creativity whether from camp or drag balls, performances, writing — there’s such a wealth.” The problem is that queer artists are rarely called out as such, which often leads to erasure. To push back on that, to help situate her students in history, Chan put a particular emphasis on personal storytelling. “I really wanted them to see themselves in conversation with history … that their lives and their stories matter and are a part of history.”
2018 FEB: BAY AREA REPORTER
"A lot of us growing up, we didn't have the opportunity to learn about that part of our history," said Katie Gilmartin, founder and director of the project. "Being able to see how queer and trans people throughout history have experienced oppression and engaged in fabulous, creative acts of resistance is so important."
"Our history is really, really important, especially these days with what's going on politically," she added.
2018 JAN: SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"Often, though, this history has remained in the shadows, in the margins. “It’s not documented, but we know it happened. They’re encouraged to do the research, so they know the context,” Gilmartin said. “For some artists, it’s about inventing queer and trans history and imagining it into being.”