Felicita “Felli” Maynard

“Ole Dandy, the Tribute, is an introspective into the lives of Jean Loren Feliz & Angelo Lwazi Owenzayo. Feliz & Owenzayo are imagined male impersonators/drag kings who live in NYC during the late 19th century. Feliz & Owenzayo are modeled after male impersonator/entertainer Florence Hines. Hines was a queer African-American drag king and singer who performed from the 1890s to the 1920s all over the United States. Hines has become an inspirational figure for me because of their importance to African American theatre and comedy. Their portrayal of the Black dandy character is one that not only elevated the representation of the Black man in the post Civil War era, but she also blurred the lines between what race, class and gender could look like. Hines is not known by many because there is not much archival imagery of her performance career. White male impersonators such as Ella Wesner performed during the same time as Hines, yet there are many surviving images of her throughout her career. I consider Florence Hines to be a queer ancestor and pioneer.

Through Ole Dandy, the Tribute I re-imagine queer life in the early 20th century, I celebrate the radical queer communities existing pre-Stonewall while also giving a specific focus to how that looks in and out of the archive. I give space for these imagined queer ancestors to exist and honor the lives of what could have been, while also respecting the name and likeness of those queer ancestors who wanted that part of their lives to remain private. This work is a remix of past in order to envision an inclusive future. Representation is important especially for queer decedents of the African diaspora, like myself, yet what happens when this archive is activated in a way that challenges linear time. “

Felicita “Felli” Maynard is a New York based interdisciplinary artist, student and educator. They received their BFA from Brooklyn College, with a concentration in film photography. As a 1st generation Afrolatinx-American, their work uses photography to investigate and explore identity, gender, history and the black body. They challenge and re-write history by means of their work. Maynard has shown work at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, Westchester Community College, Spectrum Gallery at MCLA college, Brooklyn Photoville and Pen + Brush Gallery in NYC. Felli lives and works in Brooklyn NY.

Maynard is currently a Queer | Art Mentorship Fellow working with photographer Lola Flash, a Smack Mellon Art Ready Mentor, teaching assistant at the Penumbra Foundation and interning in the Digital Collection and Imaging department at Brooklyn Museum.