Margin/Margin is a portrait based, multi media documentary project that focuses on People of Color in the leather community. This project is a way to bring visibility, representation and a public discourse free from screens and keyboards. The leather community has historically under-represented Black and Indigenous People of Color. For this reason, special interest groups have been formed to offer a space for non-white members.
While we can certainly cite BIPOC titleholders, such as IML (International Mr. Leather) & IMsL (International Ms. Leather), it proves to be a rare and notable event rather than the norm. The
subjects of Margin/Margin offer both a proud visual & verbal representation, in addition to sharing issues of racism, classism, tokenism & fetishization. These matters address difficulties within a microcosm of larger society. The issues of race can certainly intersect with body politic marginalization such as Trans
phobia, ableism, femme phobia and misogyny. The more we educate ourselves and have critical discourse, the more we have a chance to hear, understand & amend our behaviors and attitudes. We aim to create a culture of respect, integrity and honor, the very concepts that attract so many to the leather community.
Heather Raquel Phillips is an interdisciplinary artist, independent curator and educator living and working in Philadelphia. Phillips is a Fluid, mixed-race person of Afro-Boricuan descent. Through these lenses, she/they has implemented intersectional politics into their art practice, as well as, their teaching philosophy.
Rooted in a Lens Based Practice, Phillips utilizes static + moving images, text-based textiles, sculptural elements, performance & installation as methods of making. Generating through a dual system of documentary & conceptual practice, their work interrogates the social constructs of race, class & gender. Phillips explores personal autonomy through power, sexuality, deviance & transgression. She seeks to disrupt notions of normalcy, while debunking the limiting constraints of imperialist, white supremacist and heteronormative power structures.
Native to the Philadelphia area, Phillips is a first generation college graduate. Returning to the higher education system as an adult, Phillips earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors, from Tyler School of Art in 2008. She went on to gain her Master of Fine Arts from The University of Pennsylvania in 2016, where she was the recipient of the prestigious Toby Devon Lewis Fellowship, Stuart Engle Scholarship & The Silverstein Photography Studio Abroad Scholarship. Phillips currently lectures at their Alma Mater in the Undergraduate Fine Arts Department of The Stuart Weitzman School of Design. She has recently begun lecturing in the Visual & Performing Arts Department at The Lincoln University, the first degree granting HBCU in the country.
Phillips work has been subject in multiple art & cultural publications including, Hyperallergic, ArtForum.com
, Title Magazine, Sixty (Inches From Center), ArtBlog, Philadelphia Gay News & The Deviant by CA Conrad. She has exhibited in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago and New Orleans. She was Ms. Philadelphia Leather 2017 when she received the Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant for her documentary work, Margin Margin, which addresses racism within the Queer Leather & Fetish community. She is currently the 2019 Visiting Scholar at the Leather Archives & Museum in Chicago where she is expanding her research for both her art practice, as well as her pedagogy.