As part of the SF LGBT Center’s mural project series, we are honored to announce our partnership with artists Juan Manuel Carmona and Simón Malvaez, who will be installing a new mural on the exterior of the Center’s building ahead of Pride month. Juan Manuel and Simón are two incredibly talented local artists that represent the Latinx and Queer communities. Their work vibrantly brings attention to their Mexican heritage, Queer identities and the intersection of San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities. For this year’s mural, Juan Manuel approached the Center with a project proposal and brought frequent collaborator Simón onboard to volunteer his talents and ideas.
Reflecting on the compounding events borne out of the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing racial and anti-LGBTQ+ injustices that were exacerbated last year, Juan Manuel and Simón felt it was an important time to focus on the LGBTQ+ movement by recognizing people who’ve made significant contributions to the community throughout history. Titled Queeroes, the mural takes the colors of the Progress Pride Flag and transforms them into a collection of global and local LGBTQ+ heroes who honor their Latinx heritage and have played a pivotal role in shaping LGBTQ+ history—then and now: Chavela Vargas, Freddie Mercury, Frida Kahlo, Harvey Milk, James Baldwin, Juanita MORE!, Keith Haring, Honey Mahogany, Marsha P. Johnson, Sister Roma, Sylvia Rivera and Willi Ninja.
We are humbled to showcase Juan Manuel and Simón’s artistry with our community, and to provide a platform for them to celebrate and honor who they are and the communities they represent—and this is just the beginning. In early 2022, we will be holding open applications for community artists to submit their qualifications and proposals for the next installation. We are committed to equity and inclusion as core tenets of our work, and our goal with this mural project is to spotlight a variety of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC perspectives, art and artists representing our diverse communities in the years ahead. As we welcome the next set of artists, we thank fnnch for the 2020 mural that honored the legacy of his late uncle who died of AIDS over 25 years ago and that helped mark the 50th anniversary of SF LGBTQ+ Pride month. We appreciate his partnership throughout the year, including raising funds to support the community.
Please join us in celebrating our 2021 artists Juan Manuel and Simón today! Be sure to follow along on our social media channels where we’ll share behind-the-scenes content throughout the week, as Juan Manuel and Simón bring Queeroes to life.
Our community of Queer heroes is so beautifully expansive and goes far beyond this list of icons. We all have a personal list of heroes we admire—whether it’s chosen family, an inspiring community member, or a cultural icon.
While one mural could never encompass all the stories of our diverse community, we hope it will serve as a launchpad for all of us to connect, knowledge-share and discover rising Queer heroes in our communities through one another — and we want to spotlight your heroes throughout Pride month! Using the hashtag, #Queeroes, tag us in social media posts that you’re dedicating to your personal Queeroes or send your photos/dedications to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured on our channels. We’d love to celebrate the people who uplift you!
We leave you with a message from Juan Manuel and Simón, “Ultimately, art is powerful. We hope that this mural awakens curiosity within our community, especially as there will be LGBTQ+ heroes that are recognizable to some, and others that will be completely new to the spectator. We want to encourage people to learn more about our Queer heroes and their contributions to our community, then and now. Through this mural, we also hope to celebrate the LGBTQ+ movement and invoke love and hope, at a time when we need it most.” Hear more from the artists.