RIEL STURCHIO & BIANCA STURCHIO,
Bianca and riel Sturchio are twin collaborators. Bianca Sturchio is a queer and disabled artist who works primarily in paint and collage, and collaborates in the photographic project Chasing Light. She uses her Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Southern Maine (2020) to work with underrepresented populations in the Portland, ME area. Bianca pairs her creative and academic backgrounds to advocate for disability justice increase representation for disabled artists. riel Sturchio is a queer interdisciplinary artist whose practice includes analog photography, printmaking, and sound sculpture. Their work often revolves around the body and their experiences with disability and chronic illness. They received an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin (2018).
riel Sturchio says of their ongoing collaborative project, “Chasing Light has allowed Bianca and I to self-direct our visibility, investigate the representation of queer identity and non-normative bodies, and explore the shifting role of image-maker and subject. Our relationship with the work stems directly from our individual and shared experiences with disability, chronic illness, and non-normative queer identity. Now, we wish to turn this lens outward and offer experiences for non-artists and creative individuals who identify at the intersection of LGBTQ+, non-binary, and chronically ill or disabled identity to see themselves through self-directed documentary photographs and the support of guided workshops. We aim to advance social justice through this work by giving others the opportunity to self-direct their narratives.”
2021 Robert Giard Grant Judge Efrem Zelony-Mindell writes, "riel Sturchio, and Bianca Sturchio excite me because they epitomize voices of a previously unseen future. Through these artists the voice and language of photography shifts, becoming more than its white patriarchal history. For me these artists bring narratives from their lived experiences to viewers who would otherwise never know that they existed.”
“This award supports our vision of opening up Chasing Light to other folks at the intersection of non-normativity, disability, and LGBTQ+ identity. We believe there is great power in vulnerability and sharing stories, and feel grateful for the ability to initiate this new expansion.”
—riel Sturchio & Bianca Sturchio
2021 Robert Giard Grant Runners-Up
2021 ROBERT GIARD GRANT FINALISTS
|Eight finalists were recognized for the 2021 Robert Giard Grant. From left to right, top row: Michael DeCristo, Lee Laa Guillory, a. r. havel, Ian Lewandowski. From left to right, bottom row: Schaël Marcéus, Sarah Panzer, Coyote Park, and Zhidong Zhang.|
|In addition to the winners and runners up, eight other visual artists were acknowledged as finalists for this year—Michael DeCristo, Lee Laa Guillory, a. r. havel, Ian Lewandowski, Schaël Marcéus, Sarah Panzer, Coyote Park, and Zhidong Zhang.|
You can learn more about each of the finalists and their creative practices at our website.
Robert Giard (1939-2002) was a portrait, landscape, and figure photographer who came to the practice of photography relatively late in life. In 1972 he began to take photographs, concentrating on landscapes of the South Fork of Long Island, portraits of friends, many of them artists and writers in the region, and the nude figure. He is best known for photographing over 500 LGBTQ+ writers and activists. A selection from this project, Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, was published in 1997 by MIT Press and led to a groundbreaking exhibit at the New York Public Library the following year.
In 1985, after seeing a performance of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, as the AIDS crisis raged, Giard decided to turn his camera towards the LGBTQ+ literary community to preserve a record of queer lives and histories. He began documenting LGBTQ+ literary figures, both established and emerging, in a series of unadorned, yet sometimes witty and playful portraits that would eventually number over 500 by the time of his death.
Giard’s work can be found in the collections of The Brooklyn Museum, the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the San Francisco Public Library, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; his complete archive, including work books and ephemera, can be found in the American Collection of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.
You can learn more at the Robert Giard Foundation website.
|Image credits—1. Patricide, 2016, Courtney Webster & Meg Turner; 2. Suntan Lotion, 2018. riel Sturchio & Bianca Sturchio. 3. Slideshow of Images by Courtney Webster & Meg Turner, images courtesy of the artists; 4. Slideshow of Images by riel Sturchio & Bianca Sturchio, image courtesy of the artists; 5. Collage of Images by Finalists, images courtesy of the artists; 6. Robert Giard, 1985. Photo by Toba Tucker, Courtesy The Estate of Robert Giard|
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