Kia LaBeija, Goodnight, Kia, 2017
Over the duration of the ongoing AIDS epidemic, an estimated 17 million children have lost one or both parents to an AIDS-related illness. Many of these children living with the virus themselves have ended up displaced or forced out of their homes. In Goodnight, Kia, Kia LaBeija processes a reoccurring dream of the home she shared with her mother Kwan Bennett. Bennett died of an AIDS-related illness in October of 2004, resulting in an unanticipated move that reshaped the course of her teenage daughter's life.
Commissioned in 2017 as part of ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, a program of seven videos prioritizing Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS.
About the artist
Kia LaBeija is a contemporary artist who provokes awareness, acceptance and activism for HIV/AIDS through her portraiture and performance art. Her work explores the intersections of community, politics, fine art and activism. As a visual artist she stages digital portraits as theatrical and cinematic re-imaginings of non fictional events to spark conversation, complicating the way we view her subjects and the spaces they occupy. LaBeija’s portraiture utilizes the medium of story telling, to preserve histories and make sociopolitical commentaries on current events. LaBeija was a featured artist in Art, AIDS, America, alongside Keith Haring, Annie Leibovitz, Nan Goldin and Robert Mapplethorpe and more; she was the only woman of color; the only woman living with HIV; and the only artist born with HIV included in the exhibition. A performer by nature, LaBeija is a member of the Iconic House of LaBeija and uses Voguing as performance practice and community based work. LaBeija lives and works in New York City, NY.
︎ Artist Statement
︎ Will Rawls on Goodnight, Kia
︎ Watch a conversation with Kia LaBeija and Tourmaline at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles