A knife is drawn. Emboldened, voluptuous women lie near their conquered oppressor, and man’s “possessive gaze on the female forms” brings bloody retribution. So begins Wynnie Mynerva’s still unfolding story in New York City, leaving Peru, and picturing sexual liberation, Sweet Castrator. A series of paintings “nullifying the pleasures” of men, conceived in the welcoming embrace of a New York art residency project, the castration theme is more than a dramatic statement of identity politics. It is Mynerva’s declaration of freedom, unencumbered by outdated orthodoxies in Peru. “I want revenge, that is my personal story,” says Mynerva, 29, who praises the residency experience as “transformative,” a life-changing event. “It’s opened the world to me.”

Gender queers or LGBTQ+s generally face only locked doors in New York. They are either banished to the sidelines, or completely silenced by the cliquish, elitist art establishment. One woman has given them hope. Believing the non-binary, they/them, and other so-called “queers” are the “next great generation of groundbreaking artists,” Natalie Kates is “shining the light on sexual outliers. Giving them hope.”

Under the auspices of Kates-Ferry Projects, her art residencies give these artists an 800 square foot space for one month in Manhattan, and a three month, summer home in rustic Pennsylvania at an idyllic farm (it’s done through a partnership with two eminent art collectors, Silo 6776). She also helps those “overlooked and disenfranchised” artists promote themselves, schedule meetings with collectors and galleries, and if necessary, guides them through the thicket of the New York housing market.

“The residency is meant to be a beacon, one that lights their way forward, and shows their work to a greater audience,” says Kates, the co-founder of the Latchkey Gallery in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood. “I just want to give back. Be a mentor. I know creatives like Mynerva and other artists of color have a lot to say. They have been silenced for way too long.”

Story By Edward Kiersh


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