"You Don't Look Queer Enough!"


Debjani Chakravarty

"You dont look queer enough" (image) by Debjani Chakravarty
"You Don't Look Queer Enough!"
© Debjani Chakravarty. Courtesy of the artist. Click to enlarge.


Artist Statement

This artwork is done by hand, and digitally, as a response to strangers telling me that digital art is not "real art." This art is in response to stranger statements that sound as follows: "You don't look refined enough." "You don’t look Republican enough." "You don't look feminist enough." "You don't look artist enough." "You don't look legal enough (for this place)." "You don't look queer enough." "You don't look poor enough." You don't look wealthy enough (for this place)." "You don't look hungry enough." "You don't look angry enough." "You don't look as if you belong here- you're a fence sitter, a meat eater, you don't look woke; you don't look dope, you don't look white, black, or taupe. Your hair color is wrong, besides. What are you, who are you, why are you?"

This is not a comprehensive list, and I am certainly not saying that some of them were not made in my head in moments of nameless estrangement. How visible must identities be? Where do we draw the line of acceptance, of performance? Who does the gatekeeping—who defines revolution, who does the silent, invisible background work? How much, how long, and how deeply must we perform to prove our worth, our place, our presence? This painting is a question mark, an exclamation point, and a point of no return.


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