Wider themes of identity and gender can lead to positive social impact if dealt with sensitively and Montoya talks about executing such change. The acceptance and inclusivity that the queer community has garnered is at a much healthier space than it was a few years back. An acute increase of sensitivity in the representation has lead to a more holistic understanding of queer identity and terminology. While there are people who seek to invalidate others because they do not adhere to traditional constructs of what they think ‘should be’, conscious discourses in art, fashion and lifestyle have resisted these themes. These discourses fight the rejection and convention and hope to create a more inclusive and accepting world. Colombian queer artist Maria Montoya has dedicated her work to be a medium that facilitates such positive change.
María, ‘ivaginologist’ and the creative behind the ‘Ivaginarium,’ has formulated an identity for herself that constantly strives towards reinvention and self-improvement. Her aesthetic is not a product of the conventional but one of a life lead without any fear of criticism. Her celebration of the queer in her has inadvertently lead to an aura of acceptance and individuality that makes everyone she interacts with feel celebrated. Her very own pieces of art act as carriers of resistance, creative expression, authenticity, love and hope.
“Art is the only tool that allows me to be who I am. With what I do, use, and carry, I transcend with the utilitarian elements and make visible a message in which I accept myself as I am and invite other 'weirdos' like me to show themselves: without so many fears of labels!” María points out when speaking of the relationship between art, fashion, and LGBTQIA+ resistance. For María and many other people in the world, the use of certain garments, symbols, accessories, and color combinations is loaded with explicit narratives and communication tools that allow the individuals who use them to connect with people from all parts of life. Fashion, for them, is a tool of resistance and movement, and represents the very change that defines urban living. The creation of a community of like-minded creatives that dream of a free and accepting world has been represented by the way this community styles themselves. Every artist and every piece has narrative embedded in it.
Maria considers her aesthetics to be a fundamental part of her fight as a “queer artist”. By integrating her artistic expression (embroidery, paintings, illustrations, bags) into clothing pieces, she is spreading a message that is bold and loud. This message celebrates diversity while disrupting paradigms that aren’t ready to celebrate diversity as it should be celebrated. Great things often come from the uncomfortable and Maria is not afraid to tread into
un chartered territory. In search of a powerful convergence of art and clothing simultaneously, her collaboration with A Lot Studio, the fashion label that curates art pieces into wearable garments, will be the one that will assist her in actualizing the fullest of her potential and create magic.
Judith Butler (1999) already suggested in the Gender Trouble that clothing and bodies are performative languages that not only enunciate, list, and communicate codes, but also act and tell stories about our identities, our environments, and how we relate to them. Aligned to this position, A Lot Studio joins María to collaborate together and create a set of garments that become performative symbols of diverse identities and do not distinguish between gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or bodies. The intention behind creating such pieces was to celebrate freedom and expression as we let go of all social pressures and embrace all the resistance and Pride of being part of the LGBTQIA+ community in ‘Lo Latinomarica’ and worldwide.
María Montoya X A Lot Studio Collection is now available in our shop www.alotstudio.com
Written by: Nicolle Palacios
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