Give Us Our Flowers
In an effort to expand the narrative around Pride and push back on well-trod stereotypes, a range of LGBTQ2IA+ voices at BUCK partnered to create “Give Us Our Flowers: A Global Archive of Queer POC Rebels.”
With a focus on highlighting revolutionary, but often-forgotten, Queer POC, “Give Us Our Flowers” explores their struggles while celebrating the strength they summoned to fight for their rights.
Printed in collaboration with Secret Riso Club, each of our 26 spotlights features a custom illustration and biography. 100% of proceeds are given to The Stonewall Protests, The Triangle Project, and The Black Trans Art & Joy Fund.
At the Printer
Riso printing matches the ink-on-paper aesthetic that accompanies traditional screen printing with the efficiency of Xerox. Secret Riso Club is an anti-capitalist design studio that focuses on intersectional social justice, design, and community building. Based in Brooklyn, NY, SRC was created in 2017 by Chilean immigrant Gonzalo Guerrero (he/him).
Icon: Simon Nkoli
Artist: Fabrizio Lenci:
“My illustration of Simon Nkoli incorporates many symbols of his fight for equality. He stood against apartheid, and because of that was arrested and jailed. When he came out from jail he was received with joy and flowers – there’s an iconic portrait of him wearing a beautiful flower necklace and raising his fist from this time. Simon used to wear a vest full of buttons too, so for this piece I’ve made a graphic version of it that features his main causes. The necklace celebrates his freedom specifically through the use of the king protea, South Africa’s national flower.”
Icon: Leslie Cheung
Artist Kuu Chen
“Leslie was particularly iconic for his versatility both on stage and in cinema, and was considered ahead of his time, especially in Asia, which was (and is) very conservative. He once said, “The highest achievement for a performer is to embody both genders at the same time. For art itself is genderless,” so I wanted to portray him as an ethereal embodiment of his many iconic performances and looks, instead of sidelining him into just one. All those facets are refractions of his identity, one that goes beyond a singular understanding of gender.”
Pine Leaf Woman Chief
Artist Kyle Strope:
"She was a Chief of the Crows and a warrior who brought an extended period of peace between her people and neighboring tribes. She identified as Two-Spirit, but chose to wear feminine clothing — this detail made me think she really knew who she was and didn't give a eff what other people thought. More evidence for this is in the fact that she took four wives.
I'm inspired by the storytelling found in a lot of Native American paintings, as well as the decorative patterns used in day-to-day objects like woven baskets and clothing. I tried to marry those two ideas in this illustration while playing with my own favorite tools.
In the end I just wanted to depict Pine Leaf Woman Chief as a BAMF, larger than life, confidently leading her multiple wives on horseback through a pine forest. I wondered if making the pine trees yellow in my illustration did some injustice to her jab at her wannabe male suitor, but the color was too pretty to resist."
For this first edition, we strove for biographies that would provide enough information to function as a primer, inviting audiences to continue learning on their own. Where possible we included our heroes’ writings or quotes in their mother tongue alongside English translations to ensure we populated the zine with their real voices. Beyond pure portraiture, our designs were inspired by and incorporate personal details that add an additional layer of storytelling.
“Give us our flowers while we are living” is an expression centering the importance to fully love and support Black Trans folk always, not just during times of tragedy, not just in death. Often heard at the Black Trans led Stonewall Protests that continue to this day, it’s a reminder that the push for LGBTQ2IA+ liberation must continue. In this zine, we honour both our predecessors and our contemporaries.
Blurred at its borders, our flower represents the haze around our histories and the need to sharpen the focus on the real stories at the center of it all.
Stonewall Protests IG
We hope that this project will be an ongoing one, and that we can continue to explore the best ways to represent marginalized stories to educate and inspire.
View Appendix Here
Dara Ó Cairbre
Secret Riso Club
Manu Correa Soto
Sung Hyun Kim
LGBTQ2IA+ @ BUCK