“I was frustrated that trans* and marginalised people’s narratives weren’t getting the platform they needed and that provoked me to make the work that I do,” says Sweden artivist Rudy Loewe.
Queerstion Editor Miles Tanhira interviewed Rudy to get an insight into their work and participation in the Draw or Die exhibition currently underway in Södertalije, Sweden and ends on August 06. “The exhibition is a visual testimony of our time with works that offer an intensive look at the reality that surrounds us. Series creative style has always given a freedom to move beyond conventional to unconventional world of ideas where the normative gaze and prevailing power structures are challenged. Inspiration comes from everyday experiences, observations, feminism, youth memories and political events. Through the works of art, we encounter new ideas, voices and perspective that gives the audience an opportunity to reflect on their own position.” Grafikens Hus.
Names: Rudy Loewe
Preferred Pronouns: They or hen/ non-binary femme
May you shed more light about your work and participation in the Draw or Die Exhibition
I’ve been working as an artist over the last seven years or so and much of my more recent works can be seen on my website www.rudyloewe.com
The piece in Södertälje is a commission from Grafikens Hus, focusing on feminist ideas and histories. My work is featured in the exhibition alongside other artists based in Sweden such as Joanna Rubin Dranger and Hanna Gustavsson. In my art, i chose to focus on the idea of a feminist space as a celebratory place that is inclusive of trans and non-binary people. A place where we can be ourselves.
The exhibition, prior to my work being in it, has toured to a number of other places. When it was planned to come to Södertälje, I was asked to create a piece directly on the window to be a part of it. As some of the work is directly on the wall and window, the entire work can’t be transported to another location, and there’s something that I like about that. It makes it more intimate and ephemeral in a way, that once it’s taken down, it’s gone.
Why is it important to focus on the issue of trans* inclusive feminism
As we gain more language to articulate our experiences of gender, or feeling outside of gender, it’s important that we re-evaluate the terms that we are using. That’s why for me it’s important that when we talk about feminism, we make sure that it’s inclusive of trans and non-binary people. Sometimes, women, only spaces are needed for example, but if they exclude trans women then we really have to question what is the purpose of these spaces.
What issues do you unravel in your works
It’s crucial in my work to give space to voices and images of people from marginalised communities. I want to share our stories, our histories and present the complex dynamics that we live our lives in. I was frustrated that I felt that these narratives weren’t getting the platform they needed and that’s what provoked me to make the work that I do.
An important part of my practice is working as an arts educator. This means facilitating workshops, speaking at events etc. I want to share the resources I have gained to help empower other people to share their own stories. I want them to realise it’s possible. Especially the voices that are constantly being overlooked, or spoken for. My work as an artist has been a lifeline. A way to process my experiences and channel my emotions.
Any message of inspiration to upcoming trans activists operating in hostile environments
I would say, don’t get caught up in worrying what other people might think of your work. First and foremost, make your work for yourself. See it as a tool to say what you need to say and then if you want to, you can share it. I know that there are also some platforms like Tumblr and Instagram that people can use to find an artistic community that doesn’t necessarily reflect a person’s lived environment. I think that this can be super helpful. Find the places where your work fits and can be recognised for what it is.
Mindfulness and wellbeing are important for the body, what do you do to relax
I like sleeping! I’m always tired. But I also like to take care of plants and have cosy dinners with people that I love.
Any Quote you live by
“The schools we go to are reflections of the society that created them. Nobody is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free.” Assata Shakur
How can others get in touch with you.
Some of the Rudy’s works