please hold this, for my hands are full – Kitt Peacock
Things tell us unreliable stories. Material items that were unimportant begin to hold weight.
Kitt Peacock’s paintings serve as materialist archives of the marginalized trans and Rom communities they have inherited, capturing objects linked to collective experiences. Archival methods have historically enabled racism, colonialism, and discrimination across the board through biased retellings of history. In the Western archive, the Rom is always a thief, a witch, and forever on their way to a concentration camp, while the trans or gender nonconforming person does not exist. In reclaiming the archival space, their paintings present an alternative record of everyday life in trans and traveller communities.
Throughout their practice, the space of the archive always speaks to the hand of the artist. By combining small, painterly brushwork and imperfect silkscreen monoprints, the information presented in each piece flickers between real and constructed imagery. The trap of the Western archive is in its authority, and these archives don’t claim to be the definitive record—they’re just one record, made by one person. In admitting that the archive is always biased, always imperfect, the paintings are able to move away from Westernized archival practices and into a new realm. What does a trans archive looks like? How do we create a Rom archive separate from the violence of the Western archive?
The paintings in please hold this, for my hands are full are the first move towards these new archives — collections of objects start to fall apart without a thread to tie them together. Things tell us unreliable stories. Material items that were unimportant begin to hold weight.
This work is against the Western archive. As Audrey Lorde once said, the master’s tools will never destroy the master’s house. These paintings begin the work of building a different house altogether, so that history doesn’t need to live in the master’s house anymore.
Kitt Peacock is a painter from Vancouver, Canada. Currently in their final year at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, their large-scale paintings connect informal and alternative approaches to community archiving with their interest in materialist recordkeeping. Their work can be found in print in Pouch Magazine, Spy Kids Review, and Woo, among other publications, or online @cowboymouf.