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Cecilia Gentili

June 04 — June 24

The BOFFO Residency Fire Island is being awarded to Cecilia Gentili posthumously. Artists from the organization she founded, Trans Equity Consulting, have accepted the residency on Cecilia’s behalf to nurture the artistic spirit of their team and Cecilia’s extended community. Those participating on her behalf will be stefa marin alarcon, Oscar Diaz, viento izquierdo ugaz, ari jauregui, Joseph Liatela, Victoria Von Blaque, and others.  Cecilia Gentili (1972-2024) was a legendary organizer, author, advocate, performer, and community icon. As a beloved mother to countless queer, trans, and immigrant individuals in New York City, her legacy endures on both systemic and personal levels.Alongside her lifelong career as an advocate, Cecilia was a celebrated artist whose rich expression spanned multiple disciplines. In 2017, she debuted The Knife Cuts Both Ways, a hilarious one-woman show exploring some of the stories of her life. In 2018, she starred as Ms. Orlando on Pose, the groundbreaking drama following trans women of color in 1980s New York. In 2022, Cecilia released her stunning debut book, Faltas: Letters to Everyone in My Hometown Who Isn’t My Rapist, which was awarded the Stonewall Book Award. In 2023, Cecilia achieved her first off-Broadway premiere with Red Ink, a part stand-up, part camp solo show about searching for faith while trans. Whether it was on the stage, screen, or written page, Cecilia passionately and consistently advocated for the various communities that shaped her practice, and did so with a signature blend of humor and honesty that spoke to life’s most joyous and painful moments. Artists from Trans Equity and her extended community participating on her behalf will be: stefa marin alarcon, Oscar Diaz, viento izquierdo ugaz, ari jauregui, Joseph Liatela, Victoria Von Blaque, and others.

BOFFO Executive & Artistic Director Faris Saad Al-Shathir shares, “we had the privilege of working with Cecilia in 2021 when our artist-in-residence Gogo Graham invited Cecilia to speak to the Fire Island community. In October 2023, when Cecilia was nominated for the BOFFO Residency, there was resounding excitement amongst our past artists. Two days after Cecilia’s passing we were tasked with shortlisting our residents for the summer. When Cecilia’s name was presented, all were sad that the opportunity couldn’t be given to her, but then the question was asked, why not? Within only 2 days, Cecilia’s vast community had come together to mourn and celebrate her life and legacy. It was apparent that Cecilia’s spirit was alive in so many people, and her trans community, which she spent her life supporting, equally deserved the opportunity. It’s an honor to continue the work Cecilia set out to do and with members of Trans Equity Consulting and some of Cecilia’s closest friends. BOFFO is deeply committed to the trans community,  continues to welcome the trans community to The Pines, and is honored to support the talented artists in Cecilia’s extended family.”

ari jauregui (they/he) is a Peruvian trans non-binary activist, researcher, and community organizer, based in the Sacred Valley of Cusco, Peru. They focus on the care, memory, reparation, enjoyment, and recognition of rights for trans people. As a social researcher, they work towards a collaborative generation of knowledge with lgbtqia+, HIV+, and migrant communities, with an emphasis on trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary experiences. Their work is centered on the construction of a collective memory, having some recent studies that created a timeline of lgbtqia+ activism in seven cities, a reconstruction of the history of the first lgbtiqia+ organization in Peru, and a revision of the rituals of remembrance after the hate crimes committed during Peru’s civil war on the 80s. They are currently working on a multimedia Peruvian trans archive composed of photographs, videos, testimonials, and press releases. They are also a community organizer for the trans-led organization Cabritas Resistiendo, which promotes the enjoyment of trans people in public spaces. Through "trans invasions", trans people occupy beaches, parks, and mains squares in Lima, Peru, spaces historically marked by discrimination against our corporealities. As an organization, we also provide mutual aid to our community with fundraising activities and gender-affirming clothing swaps.

Victoria Von Blaque has gone by many names as she navigated her discovery as a transgender woman, especially during her sex work phase, which started after graduating from college in 2004. Born and raised in Long Beach, Long Island, the art of seduction and manipulation came very easy to her. In a time when Eurocentric standards of beauty dominated porn, she became the internet’s first BBW trans porn star! After finding her niche and refusing to sell out to a man, she started her own company, Femme Fatale, LLC. She had her hand in just about every opportunity in the trans adult entertainment field, ranging from video porn to phone sex and everything in between. In 2015, Victoria shifted her focus and started working for a nonprofit. The center’s goal is to protect LGBTQ youth from the harms of homelessness and empowering them with the tools needed to live independently. She now performs as a lip sync Queen in the New York scene with the Iconic House of LaBeija where she is continuing her work in community. Her life experience as a transgender woman, cultural enterprise consultant, and someone who has experienced discrimination makes her an invaluable resource to the TGNC community.

viento izquierdo ugaz (b. 1992, Lima, Perú) [they/them] is an autistic trans/disciplinary artist, cultural organizer, poet & language justice worker. Through writing, photography, thread & moving image they address how the burden of imposed migration has woven its threads into the visual tapestry of their lineage. From personal portraiture to video poetry, their work also reveals the powerful essence of their queer and trans chosen family in an act of unapologetic resistance and tenderness. Izquierdo Ugaz received their BFA at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Recent group exhibitions include Un Estado de Gracia / A State of Grace, BAM, New York; Alchemies of Mutable Selfhood, Leslie Lohman Museum; Premio ICPNA Contemporanéo, Lima, Peru; as well as their first museum group exhibition ESTAMOS BIEN– LA TRIENAL 20/21, El Museo del Barrio. They are a co-organizer of BODYHACK, a NY/global mutual aid happy hour for trans & nb people, a consultant with Trans Equity Consulting, as well as a 2020-21 Poetry Project Curatorial Fellow and a 2021-22 Leslie Lohmann Museum and EmergeNYC fellow. Izquierdo Ugaz has previously been in residence at SOMA Summer, Samsøñ Projects, Cuchifritos and PWRPLNT and will be in virtual residence with TEMP FILES 2023. Their first chapbook is Estoy Tristeza (No Dear, 2018). viento lives in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, in Peru with their partner and two cats.

Oscar Diaz (they/them) is a queer & trans non-binary artist from the borderlands of Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, California. Their work documents queer and trans communities as they experience joy and resistance, detailing divine gestures & unholy rituals that inform expansive ways of being. As a socially-engaged artist, they regularly produce multimedia & public programming to uplift & connect communities from the margins. Most recently they’ve served as executive producer of TRANSMISSION, NYC’s first trans music festival, as well as co-organizer of Body Hack, an international fundraising collective focused on mutual aid, & former curator of NuLatinx, a social platform that aims to challenge the monolithic lens of Latinidad from its extraction of Black, indigenous, & other marginalized folks. Their community-based practice ties visual art & cultural production as a conduit for worldmaking that disrupts dominant narratives & rejects the notion that the present is enough.

stefa marin alarcon aka STEFA* is a genderless, genreless vocalist, composer educator and multimedia performance artist born and raised in Queens, NY. Using an amalgamation of punk, experimental rage pop, and classical minimalism with queer maximalist aesthetics, stefa builds worlds that offer a somatic decolonial respite for the misfits, the displaced, and future generations of Brown and Indigenous radical artists of the diaspora. Their ritual film Born With An Extra Rib won the 2022 Queer|Art Recent Work Prize and a 2023 TRANSlations Seattle FIlm Festival Jury Award. Their debut album will be released Summer 2024 on Figure & Ground Records.

Joseph Liatela is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York City. Using performance, sculpture, and video, he makes work that examines issues of biopolitics, memorial, trans and queer subjectivities, and collective movement. Liatela earned a BFA with distinction from California College of the Arts and an MFA in sculpture and expanded media from Columbia University. He has been awarded grants and fellowships from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, The Banff Centre, California College of the Arts, Columbia University, Artist Grant, the Van Lier Fellowship, and was a finalist for the Found Work Artist Prize in 2021. His work has been shown at Denniston Hill, Human Resources Los Angeles, The Jewish Museum, Marian Goodman Gallery, The Leslie-Lohman Museum, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, PS122 Gallery, and Proyecto Galería CDMX, among others. Liatela’s writing has been published by the Leslie-Lohman Museum Journal and Oxford University Press. His work has been featured in Artsy, The Leslie-Lohman Museum Journal, SF MoMA’s Open Space, EMERGENCY Index, ArtNews, Hyperallergic, Artforum, and Art & Education. Current and recent exhibitions include Night Skyline Stars at Laura Gallery in Houson, Texas, and Boitaqueer at Galerie du Montparnasse in Paris. He will have a solo exhibitions at Fragment Gallery in New York City, SPACES in Cleveland, Ohio, and Wells College in Aurora, NY in 2024.