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Photograph by Sophy Holland for The Village Voice

Photograph by Sophy Holland for The Village Voice

Kia LaBeija (B.1990) is a multidisciplinary artist born and raised in the heart of New York City’s theatre district, Hellz Kitchen. 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. Her Portraiture utilizes the medium of story telling, to preserve histories, and make sociopolitical commentaries on current events. Currently she is a featured artist in Art, AIDS, America, a controversial touring exhibition investigating 30 years of art made in response to the AIDS epidemic. Artists include Keith Haring, Annie Leibovitz, Nan Goldin and Robert Mapplethorp. Kia is the only representation of a female artist of color living with and born with HIV in the show. 

A performer by nature, LaBeija is a Overall Mother of the Iconic House of LaBeija where she explores the art of Voguing as a performance and community based practice. She has made a name for herself in the House/Ballroom scene holding titles from The New York Awards Ball, The Latex Ball, and House Dance International to name a few. In 2016 she was the first to be deemed "Women's Old Way Vogue of the Year" in New York City.  As a voguer she has performed and curated events in collaboration with MoMa PS1, The Brooklyn Museum, AFROPUNK, H&M, Fergie and Red Bull Music Academy.

She speaks frequently in public on the subject of HIV/AIDS and is an advocate for under represented communities living HIV positive including long term survivors, women, minorities and children born with the virus. As a public speaker she has been invited to speak at The CUNY Graduate Center, New York University, and The New York Public Library. She has been honored in POZ magazine’s POZ 100 list of HIV/AIDS activists under 30, and HIV Plus Magazines 20 most amazing HIV Positive Women, featured in VICE, The New York Times, Paper Magazine and Time Out New York. She has studied at prestigious institutions such as The Juilliard School, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and The New School University.