The T Record: 5 Issues We Advocate This Week
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Decades of queer life captured by Sunil Gupta
Few photographers have portrayed the complexity of queer life as lyrically as the New Delhi-born Londoner Sunil Gupta. The now 67-year-old artist and activist recently received his first and long overdue British retrospective: “From Here to Eternity” at London’s Photographers’ Gallery. It includes 16 photo series spanning five decades – from the Post-Stonewall in New York to Section 28 Great Britain to the ongoing LGBTQ + struggles in India. Particularly noteworthy is Gupta’s groundbreaking black and white series “Christopher Street” (1976), in which pre-AIDS gay life in Greenwich Village was documented – “when promiscuity was a political act to deal the death blow to family and property” . says Gupta. Newer works include “The New Pre-Raphaelites” (2008), for which Gupta created highly staged portraits of South Asian LGBTQ + subjects in poses, which are supposed to recall the iconography of the 19th century English art movement. “I am now more inspired by fiction than working method,” says Gupta of this break with the tradition of documentation, which he studied at the New School in the 1970s with Lisette Model, among others. “Even the medium that is now digital allows for endless interpretations,” he adds. “So where is the truth in the photographic documentation?” “From here to eternity: Sunil Gupta. A retrospective ”can be seen in the photo gallery until January 24, 2021. 16-18 Ramillies St, Soho, London; thephotographersgallery.org.uk.
A line of jewelry that is redefining the Asian-American heritage
Raised in Orange County, California, Crystal Ung, a first-generation Chinese-American, heard stories about how a special jade ring protected her paternal grandfather from harm when he fled communist China to Southeast Asia in the 1940s. Indeed, the precious green mineral symbolizes protection and prosperity, and Ung’s father, who emigrated from Cambodia to the United States in 1979 to escape genocide, once gave her a jade heart pendant. Ung wanted to continue to connect with her lineage and was recently looking for more jade jewelry. But the more she searched, the more frustrated she became. It was difficult to determine where certain pieces of jade came from. Additionally, traditional designs didn’t match Ung’s more contemporary aesthetic. “I realized how Eurocentric modern jewelry brands were and how they dominated Instagram,” she said. “I saw the need for greater representation to create a brand that Americans from Asia could see themselves in.” This month, Ren kicks off five fine jewelry pieces with refreshing designs and names honoring Asian-American women whom Ung admired when she was growing up in the 1990s. There is the Lucy necklace (named after the actress Lucy Liu) with a natural marquise jadeite on a light gold chain. And the Michelle ring (named after the Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan) with a round natural jadeite cabochon on a thick gold cigarette ribbon. Ren will also be selling vintage pieces of jade and other types of Asian-inspired jewelry. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Apex for Youth and the Asian Youth Center. shop-ren.com.
Fruity Lilikoi butters to try at home
Lilikoi, or passion fruit, have grown wild in Hawaii since they were brought to the islands in the late 19th century. They are found in a variety of regional delicacies, including syrups for shaved ice, the locally ubiquitous POG (passion, orange and guava). Juice mix and of course Lilikoi butter. This creamy, flavorful spread the color of goldenrod has long been enjoyed by Hawaiians – on pancakes and French toast, or on its own with a spoon – but a new generation of chefs are now selling their own unique mixes in small quantities. The spread is made using a similar process to making lemon curd, using eggs, butter and sugar, and has an equally distinctive aroma. “When I cook it, the scent fills the room,” says Etsuko Ono, who has been making butter and jams from fruits produced in Hawaii with her company Ohana Jam for several years. More recently, under the name Lilly Joy Hawaii, Debra Mershon began selling Lilikoi butter and condiments, including a pink dragon fruit POG flavored variety. Although Hawaii now imports around 90 percent of its food supplies, Mershon remembers the wisdom of her uncle, a fisherman who taught her from a young age that the land can provide plenty of food. No wonder that their customers refer to their Lilikoi butter as a “jar of liquid Hawaiian gold”. From $ 12; lillyjoy-hawaii.com and ohanajam.com.
Casa Cody offers a timeless Palm Springs retreat
Palm Springs boutique hotels tend to rely on the city’s mid-century heyday for design inspiration – turntables and mustard yellow accents plenty. The longest-running hotel in town, Casa Cody, which will reopen in January after extensive renovations, is an aesthetic breakthrough: an oasis of adobe walls and hacienda-style verandas. Named for Harriet Cody, a cousin of Buffalo Bill, who came to the area from Hollywood in the early 20th century and built the complex with her husband as an architect, the property became a retreat for artists like Charlie Chaplin and Anaïs from the 1920s Nin. When the hotel company Casetta Group took it over almost a century later, it was Turn to the Electric Bowery design studio – owned by Silver Lake Inn and Erewhon Venice – to freshen up the space while keeping its bones and intimate bed and breakfast flair. “We wanted to bring back something more timeless,” explains Cayley Lambur, one of the studio’s two co-founders. “And we tried to make it very comfortable,” says her partner Lucia Bartholomew, “as if you were visiting your chic friend’s apartment in Spain.” The couple took inspiration from Spanish Revival architecture by painting the building’s original wooden ceiling beams black and adding colorful furniture, textiles, and handcrafted indigo and jade green tiles to the whitewashed walls. The 30 rooms overlook the grounds – with lawns for picnicking and two swimming pools – and in the distance the San Jacinto Mountains. To further maintain the feeling that the property is still a home, the designers accented the rooms with items found on site, including an old watercolor book, the pages of which they individually framed and hung throughout the room. Casa Cody is now taking bookings for its planned opening on January 28, 2021. casacody.com.
A new nail polish for identifying men
The beauty brand Faculty was founded in 2019 by Umar ElBably and Fenton Jagdeo with the idea of starting a cosmetics company for men who would avoid traditional notions of masculinity. The duo was inspired by style icons such as Latin trap musician Bad Bunny and British singer-songwriter Harry Styles, whose painted nails, fine jewelry and floral prints help redefine ideals of male beauty. Jagdeo and ElBably also wanted to recreate the way streetwear brands like Supreme offer limited-edition releases – and the faculty’s first nail polish, a forest green shade called Moss, sold out immediately. The newest offering in the line, BLM, is a dark black nail polish that, like all faculty products, is vegan, cruelty free, non-toxic, and made in the USA. A portion of all proceeds from the sale of the shade will go to gender advocacy organizations such as NAACP, Empowerment Programs, Minnesota Freedom Fund, and Black Lives Matter. It’s a mission in line with the faculty’s own goal: to create a world in which men identifying people feel comfortable wearing what they want. “Why are you wearing APC?” ElBably said in an interview with Hypebeast earlier this year. “Why do you tend to Frank Ocean’s bleached hair? You make these decisions because people have given you permission. At the end of the day, a nail polish, a concealer – it’s just chemicals. There is nothing that makes it gender specific at all, it all depends on perception. “From $ 15; www.faculty.world.