Thursday, January 28, 2021

A Drop Of Sun Under The Earth: Devan Shimoyama’s Mythological Black Queer Masculinity

By Emily Colucci

Devan Shimoyama's "Every Lover in the Form of Stars (Tears of the Flamingo Prince)," 2016 Oil, Flashe, collage, rhinestones, glitter, beads and foam on canvas (all images courtesy the artist and Lesley Heller Workspace)
In his seminal 1952 anticolonial text Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon writes, “I am black; I am in total fusion with the world, in sympathetic affinity with the earth, losing my id in the heart of the cosmos–and the white man, however intelligent he may be, is incapable of understanding Louis Armstrong or songs from the Congo. I am black, not because of a curse, but because my skin has been able to capture all the cosmic effluvia. I am truly a drop of sun under the earth.” Like Fanon’s near mythic description of blackness, Pittsburgh-based artist Devan Shimoyama’s shimmering and sparkling art reflects this cosmic luminosity with a mesmerizing combination of unlikely materials. Currently on view in his debut New York solo exhibition at the Lower East Side’s Lesley Heller Workspace, Shimoyama interrogates the intersection of blackness, queerness and masculinity. [More]