“My work is dedicated to being a memory maker and a hope builder," Coyote Park tells CULTURED. "Documenting memories as a way to sit in these moments for longer that I don't want to be so fleeting." The artist, who—as well as being both Indigenous from the Yurok tribe and Korean-American—identifies as Two-Spirit, has a multitude of memories himself, starting with their childhood on the island of Oahu, Hawai'i. There they attended an all-girls Catholic school, and began transitioning in their junior year of high school. After moving to New York, they began to photograph queer kink events, and found community healing through portraiture. It captivated them then, and has remained a steady interest for the artist who now lives in south California and whose practice involves self-documentation as well as capturing the stories of other queer and trans people, as well as people of color.
Today, Park is announcing their first-ever solo museum exhibition, "I Love You Like Mirrors Do." Opening Feb. 3, at Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in New York, the series builds off Park's practice along with new works created from research on figurative pairs across the museum's collection—from silver prints by Prussian photographer Wilhelm von Gloeden to erotic drawings by 20th-century Japanese artist Go Mishima as part of Leslie-Lohman's "Interventions" series. In fact, many of these pieces from which Park drew inspiration will be present, including those by Mishima, Luigi & Luca, and Zanele Muholi.
"Trans love and joy is essential to my own survival and happiness in life. It feels like it can be taken away any minute and creating my photographic work in collaboration with my trans family is a way of honoring what we share together," says Park. "As trans people of color, we don't often see ourselves in contexts that exist beyond pain, struggle, and suffering. So, showing spaces of rest, relaxation, pleasure, and peace are essential to the visual landscape of my photographic work. This creates hope for current and future generations of queer people that can find comfort in the images. This feels significant in its essence with the history of the museum that has protected and uplifted art centering queer life, identity, and sexuality.”
“I Love You Like Mirrors Do” is on view from February 3 to July 16, 2023 at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art at 26 Wooster Street in New York.