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10 Questions With: Maya Vivas And
Leila Haile Of The Ori Gallery 

by David Stuckey 

White walls, white wine and white people.

That is how Diego Cortez described the gallery scene of the 1980s in New York, when Jean-Michel Basquiat burst onto the scene with nappy hair and an even nappier narrative that immediately clashed with the refined scene that, at the time, embraced minimalism and rejected anything too different.

It was a space Basquiat wanted to be included in as an artist — not a black artist — but also a space he and Cortez set out to change, evolve and revolutionize.

Decades later, has anything changed?...

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Art Practical

It’s Elemental: Reclaiming and Redefining Space

In-depth, critical perspectives exploring art and visual culture on the West Coast.

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Gender Reveal Podcast

In this week's episode, we speak with Leila Haile and Maya Vivas, co-directors of Ori Gallery. Ori is a brand new gallery that seeks to amplify the voices of trans and queer artists of color in Portland, Oregon. (CW: assault at 9:00 and 33:00) Topics include:

  • Queerness and Afro-Queerness as a gender, sexual, and political identity
  • Racism and transphobia in the medical industrial complex
  • Navigating queer spaces as a Black, trans, disabled human
  • Coming into a non-binary identity through an African identity
  • Creating a truly accessible art gallery

Maya Vivas & Leila Haile sit down with Zeloszelos & Darion Jones to talk about Ori Gallery and what it means to be opening up a radical art gallery in a place like Portland Or.


Dark Matter Podcast

Maya Vivas is a ceramic artist in Portland who creates works that speak to the experiences of marginalized black and queer folks.  They are best friends with Leila Hale, an activist community organizer/tattoo artist that shows up and supports our community in so many ways. What a treat to get to know them, what an honor to share their story.

In this episode of Dark Matter Leila Haile and Maya Vivas discuss their new space, Ori Gallery, and all the elements that went into creating the space. We break down the history of white supremacy in Portland and how it effects us as individuals and as artists. I feel so empowered knowing that we as a community are breaking norms and forging new spaces despite not feeling safe in the society at hand. We value our freedom to create honestly above all else and will break down any walls preventing that.

Leila and Maya are working day in and day out with the most marginalized folks in Portland, OR. These voices are making new what has historically been out dated, old and oppressive schools of thought. I am grateful, as I know everyone who hears this will be, to engage with some of the most prominent and active black, queer and femme voices we have here in this glorious, rainy city. It is one of my favorite episodes yet, pour some tea and enjoy.