The ArQuives Digital Exhibitions

Robin Marquis

My Moms Are Getting Gay Married, but I Won't Be There [audio: 00:17:53]

Record: Queerspawn fonds, F0196-01-001-013, The ArQuives

"Writing and publishing ”My Mom’s Are Getting Gay Married but I won’t be There,” for Spawning Generations, was a catalyst for me in my journey of healing. It led me to pursue a dream of centering art in my life and activism work. In 2018, I graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a Masters in Fine Arts in Community Arts. My thesis, “What Were They Feeding Me” sprung directly from what was missing in my original essay, my family’s legacy of white supremacy. My thesis work investigated the ways in which I have inherited structures and legacies of power and trauma. By focusing on incest and white supremacy, I began to understand how these systems feed off of each other to create deeply rooted social disease and decay. This work was guided by the literature of many Black and anti racist white scholars before me, most prominently, James Baldwin.

“This problem, which they invented in order to safeguard their purity, has made of them criminals and monsters,
and it is destroying them.” -James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, 1979'

By researching and engaging with physical objects and stories from my own heritage, I explored how certain legacies have been passed-down and others have been silenced. I have dug, and will continue to sift, through generations of warped storytelling in an attempt to learn the true evil and destruction of whiteness. The artist statement, images and video of my thesis, show part of that exploration. An attempt to make visible and physical what my family has hidden away inside our bodies.

My mothers attended my thesis and we are seen at the end of the video embracing. This painful unearthing has led to a lot of growth, reckoning and healing.

There is more to come." -- Robin Marquis

"What Were They Feeding Me?" Wound View of Moore Grandmother

"What Were They Feeding Me?" Wound View of Moore Grandmother, 2018

What Were They Feeding Me?, 2018

Artist Statement:

"I have inherited legacies of power and violence through my family’s lineage, intentionally crafted stories, and treasured decaying possessions. How can I truly learn my history and not calcify with shame? What did I consume when I was taught to value and devalue in the name of “normativity?” This is the making of generations of monsters. I excavate what was sewn into my skin. Veins of white supremacy. Seams of incest. I honor the entangled stitches, patterns of queer resistance and the balming salve of my mothers’ beeswax. Chords from my throat echo the dissonant sound of oppressor, survivor, perpetrator, interrupter, resistor.”

“What Were They Feeding Me?” Video of the creation process, installation, artist talk, and opening cleansing.

Installation shots of "What Were They Feeding Me?"

Robin Marquis