Las Serigrafistas Queer create messages for protests and parades by coming together to print, organize events, eat, drink and have sex while drying the textiles. An is one of the forces behind the organization and we had the pleasure of sitting down with her.
An, thanks for inviting me! Where are we exactly?
We’re at a friend’s house that we basically use for everything. This is where we print the T-shirts or textiles with silkscreens while hanging out and cooking meals. Occasionally we throw events like today’s. We prepare food, sell drinks and set-up a small market where we live-print and sell our T-shirts, most of which we probably buy ourselves *laughs*, both the alcohol and the clothes. There’s nothing we haven’t done in this house, like throwing parties and having sleepovers. And of course we’ve had sex here too.
And who is the “we” in this story?
“We” started ten years ago, when “we” were only one person. Now we are, well, it depends on how you’re counting how many we are. Some people here are printing a shirt for the first time. To us, they are part of us as well, so that would make that we’re with thousands and that we form an entire community. But in general there are about 14 diehards that are always around.
Photo by L.A. Foster
So what are you doing exactly?
We create statements that we print on fabrics through silkscreen printing. These fabrics might be T-shirts or huge signs that we use during parades or protests. We started getting more involved in the activist community of Buenos Aires by meeting up with other communities and associations. For example for the Ni Una Menos parade last year, we created this huge sign by sewing all T-shirts together, literally forming a living message.
What is the most important issue that you want to address?
*Smiles* Anything… It’s not about one specific thing, it’s anything that comes to our minds, that is happening in our lives basically, which is quite a lot. There are many of us, so we just go with whatever is important to our group. For example, this company called PepsiCo, the producer of all the snacks here in Argentina, closed its doors in June 2017, leaving a lot of people without work. Any factory that wants to close down in Argentina, needs to fill out a ‘Crisis Prevention Procedure’, which causes three years of economic distress, to try and save the jobs of the workers. PepsiCo filed this procedure after it had already been shut down, which is illegal. The workers organized themselves and occupied the fabric in protest. They kept on working and fought for the workers’ rights, such as pregnancy pay and child support. One of us came up with the idea to support them and we started making these messages on shirts. It was not meant as a big statement at that time, but it grew into a large movement.
Photo by L.A. Foster
So, besides all these amazing events, what does your typical day look like?
We are all different, from doctors and school teachers to performers and artists. We come together whenever we want and come up with ideas about our next steps. Like, we had this drag show the other day where we were all dragged-up. The show was called “Sho y un Par de Amigas” and we had moustaches on and everything to complete our outfit. We were supposed to work, but decided to just have fun.
What will be the next step?
We’ve been invited by the university of Sao Paulo, to set up an exhibition, organize a course and give a lecture. They only invited two of us, but since we are with 14, ten of us decided to come along anyway, which is also why we have this event today, to raise the money we need.
What are the changes between 10 years ago and now?
There is a lot of pink-washing in politics nowadays, like people are getting free votes to be ‘gay-friendly’ and being pro-gay is super trendy right now. But we won’t vote for those parties, because we know what it’s like to be neglected and if we give them our vote, other communities would suffer. We don’t want to be included by excluding others. We really just want to get rid of all labels in society.
Ann continues, “Another development that I notice is that more queer people are expressing themselves. It’s more common to be an activist these days and it’s easier to have access to activist communities. It’s possible I’m more aware of this because I’m getting more and more involved and have become more familiar with all these layers in the past ten years.”