Lily Melendez

Exploring Our Voices

By Lily Melendez

For my project, I used ink and color to display the power of a collective voice within the LGBTQ+ community–a group historically disenfranchised to speak out. The concept I wished to emulate was the idea of voice as revelatory of our identities and a guaranteer of multi-vocal authenticity.

I drew three figures in representation of queer identities set against a stark boundary wall. Panels of silence and discrimination are what glue the wall together, attempting to suppress the outburst of queer music and speech metaphorically growing around it as seen by the vines and flowers. I also wished to convey how their voices and separate gender or sexual identities become a singular force by making their collective voice the center of the piece, in which bright, fluid colors coalesce to force the barriers of censorship to recede.

This multi-vocal authenticity, the uniqueness yet togetherness of their combined speech, is what gives them agency and power to be themselves, to communicate their existence as a visible community. I chose this concept because I believe it is crucial to acknowledge “non-traditional” voices that have consistently been silenced, and I wanted to articulate the beauty in voicing one’s truth.

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