Slackgaze releasing Pain zine, featuring Vagabon, Oshun, and more

NM Mashurov

As contradictory as it might sound, NY-based curatorial platform Slackgaze has been hard at work this year, putting on tons of showcases, running arts spaces such as Portland and NoLa Darling, and nurturing artists outside of the North Brooklyn bubble. The latest slack undertaking is a zine, simply called “Pain,” which unpacks pain in its many manifestations (affect and effect, driving force and roadblock) as experienced by women of color artists, including photographer Nancy Musinguzi, and musicians such as Vagabon and Oshun.

The zine will be available online on January 23 and as a limited edition print publication. The release for the print publication will be at NoLa Darling on January 30th, and will feature performances by Vagabon, Oshun, Taylor Simone, and more.

Even as it deals with heavy subjects such as trauma and alienation, Slackgaze works with love, intention, and an eye towards healing and beauty. Curator/vibemaker/main slacker Winston Scarlett a/k/a Wimpy J Slack shared some of his inspiration for the zine:
It’s been a long time coming and waiting it out was a very necessary part of the process. I created the zine as a way to deal with a lot of the pain I was experiencing over the past year. Although my own pain was very personal and interpersonal, in terms of how I relate to my community, there was an overarching pain from being a black artist in majority white/non-poc spaces. My work, the Slackgaze zine, was a way to address the lack of space for black/poc artists to commune on how they live with their pain and how it informs their artistic processes. I primarily spoke to artists through the nearly lost art of letter writing (a series of emails). This style of communication was inspired by the slower and more intimate communications of some of my inspirations –how James Baldwin elucidated on race –hearing Eartha Kitt laugh at compromising in relationships, –listening for truth in Zora Neale Hurston’s folk stories. Watching and listening to interviews of these artists as I navigated through my own pain was very influential on the kind of dialogue I wanted to start. Even so, I wanted to keep my self outside of the zine as much as possible. One may notice that all of the artists I interviewed were Black women. Their words and work have had a profound impact on how I view the world and the work that I create. Someone recently asked me what my work is, and I replied ‘to make space’. This zine and my DIY space Nola, Darling is the tangible fruit of my work, creating space for black/poc artists to have their work recognized and shared. Sometimes the best way to be an ally is to step up and step back. That’s kind of what I’m doing with Slack.

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