Keioui Keijaun Thomas creates live performance and multimedia installations that address blackness outside of a codependent, binary structure of existence. Her work investigates the histories, symbols, and images that construct notions of Black identity within black personhood. Through movement and matter, she deconstructs, and reconstructs notions of visibility, hyper-visibility, passing, trespassing, eroticized, and marginalized representations of black bodies in relation to disposable labor, domestic service, and notions of thingness.
Her performances combine rhapsodic layers of live and recorded voice, reciting her own poetry and slipping between various modes of address, to explore the pleasures and pressures of dependency, care, and support. Thomas underscores the endurance and intimacy that care work demands from those expected to perform it—predominantly black women, black femmes, and people of color. By centering self and communal care in real-time, her practice aims to build bridges of understanding, and community, to create safer spaces for black people and people of color.
The inaugural winner of the Queer|Art 2020 Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists and the Franklin Furnace Fund Recipient for 2018, Thomas earned her Masters degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA with Honors from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Thomas has presented work nationally and internationally at Kuopio’s ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival in Finland, Birmingham’s Fierce Festival, Skopje Pride Queer Arts Festival in Macedonia, Time Based Arts Festival in Portland, Oregon, and New York’s Dweller Festival as well as Rapid Pulse Performance Art Festival and Out of Site Festival in Chicago, among others.
As of September 2021