Daydreaming Ourselves Awake: Exploring Queerness Through Art

Beyond the Binary: Exploring Queer Identities Through Art

Discover the world of Daydreaming Ourselves Awake, an LGBTQIA+ art exhibition challenging traditional notions of liberation.

Photography by Levi Guzman

Inside the world of  “Daydreaming Ourselves Awake,” you will find a cultural exhibition that celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community through the eyes of its talented artists. More than just an exhibition, though, it’s a nod to the history of Pride Month and the legacy of those who ignited the spirit of rebellion through their fearless protests. “Daydreaming Ourselves Awake” is a refreshing oasis of wonder, imagination and world-building. It’s a space where artists and audiences can explore alternative realities and indulge in the boundless possibilities of LGBTQIA+ creativity.

Curator Jose “Joey” Gonzales aims to provide a platform for members of the LGBTQIA+ community to feel safe and to support one another with this exhibition. It’s crucial to spotlight these artists in the Coastal Bend, because, as Gonzales puts it, “We have talent too!” There may be a tendency to assume that those who “make it” in the art world must move elsewhere, but Gonzales is proving that assumption wrong. He’s intentional about prioritizing Corpus Christi artists: “If we don’t highlight the prowess of artists growing up here, we won’t be able to maintain a vivid art scene” — which is something he won’t stand for.

“The biggest challenge is coming up with a concise enough theme that captures all the images and senses I have floating in my head, and still managing to be accessible enough that every type of queer artist can participate,” said Gonzales.

The exhibited works will be on display at PRODUCE® Art Gallery Jun. 2-30, with a closing reception on Jun. 28.

The 2023 exhibition will be Gonzales’ third time producing this art show. In previous years, he has featured works from artists in our community, all over Texas and beyond — installations, sculpture, poetry and 2-D media forms. Gonzales has curated an exhibition that furthers the complexity of queerness, showcasing artists who craft compositions that push beyond conversations around identity and instead focus on the experiences that come with living a marginalized existence.

According to its public statement, the show “will explore the investigative potential of dreams to uncover queerness as it manifests through the conscious, subconscious and unconscious self. This show urges the understanding that dreaming is an imaginative tool that provides marginalized communities the ability to produce alternatives to current material conditions. Dreaming then invites us to re-envision the future, and ultimately, to challenge whether the present deserves to persist.”

Overall, this year’s “Dreaming Ourselves Awake” exhibition for Pride is a vital space for artists to showcase their work and represent the LGBTQIA+ community’s presence in the Coastal Bend. It’s a powerful testament to the importance of “dreaming” to imagine a better future, and take concrete steps toward finding creative solutions to complex problems.

Looking for more Arts + Culture? Check out Local Bookshops to Visit for Independent Bookstore Day or Oscar “TrillJay” Wheat on His Artistic Identity and Inspiration.