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Flores Nocturnas (Blooming at Night) to be on view March 25-April 17

| Amanda Bulger

This spring the Foster Gallery at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will present Flores Nocturnas (Blooming at Night), an exhibition by Mexico City-based artist Sofia Moreno. Flores Nocturnas includes drawings, paintings, collages and mixed-media installations that drag and meld Mesoamerican symbolism with queer nightlife artifacts and self-portraiture to envision trans femme legacies centering pleasure, kinship and futurity.

The exhibition will be on view from March 25-April 17, with an opening reception from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 28. All gallery events are free and open to the public. This exhibition includes sexual themes and may not be appropriate for minors.

Moreno was born in Coahuila, Mexico, and emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1990s. She describes her art as “expressions of the sacred and the profane, sexuality [and] the body” that reflect her experiences as a brown trans femme migrant. Moreno has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. Flores Nocturnas pictures a trans femme genealogy dating to the precolonial era, challenging the erasure of gender variance from official histories, which positions transgender people as unreal and thus subject to discrimination and violence.

An homage to Moreno’s transcestors and trans sisters working the streets, Flores Nocturnas uses a range of aesthetics to depict trans femme pleasure and vivacity in response to and despite ongoing erasure, discrimination and violence. This lush and sensuous art collection, while haunted by harsh realities that endanger trans femmes, envisions a utopia centering them.

The exhibition and related public programming aim to cultivate awareness and open discussion of transgender histories, experiences and human rights in the Chippewa Valley. Moreno’s multimedia oeuvre explores how diverse trans femmes navigate their exclusion from and exoticization in dominant cultural spheres, including higher education and fine arts institutions, while prioritizing their personal desires and collective liberation.

Bringing this historic exhibition, which includes work spanning two decades, to UW-Eau Claire with the support of community partners like the Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Center, works to redress the historical exclusion and misrepresentation of transgender people in the arts and humanities while building inclusive communities in the Chippewa Valley.

A gallery talk featuring Moreno and Dr. Rae Langes, the exhibition curator and an assistant professor of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality studies at UW-Eau Claire, is scheduled for 4-5 p.m. Thursday, April 11, in Room 101 of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

Additional events
  • Screening: "Doll Parts: A Selection of Experimental Queer Film," curated by Sofia Moreno, Wednesday, April 3, 5-6 pm in Haas Fine Arts Center, room 169
  • "The Politics of Identity and Representation in the Arts," a public talk with artist Sofia Moreno and poet Gustavo Barahona-López on Monday, April 8, 5-6 pm in Centennial Hall, room 2916 and on Zoom
  • "Weaving Trans Legacies," a public talk with artist Sofia Moreno and Dr. Eva Pensis on Friday, April 12, 12:30-1:30 pm in Centennial Hall, room 3914 and on Zoom

Additional support for this exhibition comes from: UW-Eau Claire’s College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Department of Art & Design, Latin American and Latinx Studies Program, American Indian Studies Program, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Department of Music and Theatre Arts, Sociology Department, History Department, English Department, Office of Sponsored Research and Programs, Intersectional Women’s Center, Division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Center for Racial and Restorative Justice, Gender & Sexuality Resource Center and Multicultural Student Services Office, and The Wisconsin Humanities Council, Eau Queer Film Festival, VMware Foundation Bright Funds, Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Center, Transforming the Valley, s+s project, Museo de Arte Transfemenino, and Galería A4.

For gallery hours, visit the Foster Gallery webpage.