Kia LaBeija (b.1990) is a fine artist born and raised in the heart of New York City, Hell’s Kitchen. Her work explores her personal narrative and the relationship between space, memory, and womanhood. Her current work is composed of cinematic and vibrant autobiographical self-portraits. 24, her critically acclaimed series, is a sociopolitical commentary on the effects of growing up with HIV. Selections from 24 have been featured in Art, AIDS, America, a controversial touring exhibition investigating 30 years of art made in response to the AIDS epidemic and AIDS at Home at The Museum of the City of New York.
A performer by nature, Kia’s role as Overall Mother of the Iconic House of LaBeija has established her as a world renowned voguer, dancer and performance artist. As an active member of New York City’s Ballroom community, she has explored the art of Voguing as a performance and community based practice. In 2016 she starred in indie rock band Pillar Point’s Music video Dove, which gained international acclaim. She was a consultant and dancer/choreographer in Damon Cardasis’s film Saturday Church, which made official selection at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. In 2018 she was casted as a principal dancer in Ryan Murphy’s highly anticipated Ballroom Drama POSE. Voguing has led her to collaborations with Condé Nast, i-d Magazine, Frieze Art Fair, GUCCI and VICE.
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. She has been honored in POZ magazine’s POZ 100 list of HIV/AIDS activists under 30, HIV Plus Magazines 20 most amazing HIV Positive Women and was the 2014 recipient of the Visual AIDS Vanguard Award.
LaBeija’s works have been included in group exhibitions, performances, and screenings at The Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Museum of The City of New York, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture / The New York Public Library, International Center for Photography, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; La MaMa Galleria, Tacoma Art Museum, Zuckerman Museum of Art, The City University of New York, Bronx River Arts Center, Clifford Chance, and ONE Archives Gallery and Museum.
She’s been featured in The Village Voice, VICE, Refinery29, Vanity Fair Italia, and DAZED. She graced the cover of the January 2018 issue of Artforum, becoming 1 of only 4 other black woman to ever achieve such an honor. She made history by accomplishing this without gallery representation, a solo show or any major art collectors. LaBeija has studied at prestigious institutions such as The Juilliard School for music and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for technical dance training. She is a graduate of the New School University, where she holds a Degree in The Arts.