“Nothing happens in the “real” world unless it first happens in the images of our heads.”- Gloria Anzaldúa
Writer and poet, Gloria Anzaldúa describes fantasy and the world of images as being that of “the underworld”, a world where desire and dreams are unattached to our external reality and free from any expectation for reason or convention. Imagining alternative spaces fuels us with the agency to be different, to try on new identities and embodiments, to express individual experience and longing, to disrupt the status quo and to form pathways to change. Through our bodies, our words, our communities and our art, these imaginings find their portals out to the public and find meaning in those who witness, who watch and who carefully listen.
Sometimes our imaginings are hijacked by messages in the media, and by stereotypes and cultural perceptions of the ‘real’. Fantasy and reality, the internal world and the external world interweave when we tell, and are told to believe, stories about our bodies, our minds, our histories, our ancestors, our gods, our identities, our purposes or roles in society. Living with and taking pride in the experience of disability and difference lends itself to dismantling these messages that isolate, exclude, segregate and tell us that we shouldn’t be here.
The Images in Our Heads takes its title from a passage in “Borderlands/ La Frontera” by Gloria Anzaldúa. Writing from the geographical position of the American Southwest, Anzaldúa identifies the cultural, territorial, spiritual and sexual borders in her life, and describes the psychological and emotional states that occur when inhabiting these borders. She talks about a back and forth negotiation between the internal and external forces and understanding of difference. “The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the "real" world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.”
Alexis Bulman, Andrew McPhail, Alana MacDougall, Syrus Marcus Ware, and Jennifer Martin explore the tension between their external reality and what Anzaldúa describes as “the world of the soul and its images.” Breaking apart the visible and invisible, the artists negotiate the ‘real’ and deliver their imaginings of difference as a point of invention, magic, survival, resistance, celebration and unexplored territory.