Amherst community member Zulay Holland is working with a group called Particles based out of Student Bridges at UMass Amherst to compile and share a new Pioneer Valley-based zine.
"Student Bridges is a Student run organization that advocates for marginalized and underrepresented students on and off campus," Holland said. They are working to put together a compilation of work by QTPOC (queer and trans people of color) artists in the Pioneer Valley. Their current project takes the form of a zine titled Superfruit which hopes to facilitate, support, and uplift creativity within queer communities of color.
This summer has brought spikes in racialized violence in the US and abroad. The season even began with the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL which killed and injured over 100 mostly queer, latinx people. While these spikes seen both in the US and abroad have been devastating, especially for those who identify with affected groups, Holland hopes this zine will provide a much needed space for collaboration among queer people of color. Holland hopes this project could create a space for QTPOCs to "express where queerness and creativity connect for them."
Speaking on their own experience as a queer artist of color, Holland highlighted the importance of their work in the process of finding and growing to love their own identity.
"Where I really get to explore my identity is through the artwork I make," they said, adding, "one of the things I love doing is collaging. I love looking at the pieces that I pick out and kind of arranging them in a way that allows me to feel as though I'm expressing myself. And that allows me to kind of see what I like, see what I don't like and . . . trust myself in the process." Holland hopes to connect with other artists through this project and to find common collaborative interests with others producing this kind of work.
"Particles is a group of artists and people who are interested in using artistic practice to express their experiences as well as issues pertaining to today's political and overall climate," Holland said about the group leading Superfruit's production.
Holland and other members of Particles are collecting artist interviews as well as pieces done by local artists for Superfruit. "We are trying to extend the zine to be a place where people can feel proud about their work as well as their stories."